Mechatronics graduand Dylan Belvedere founded Maker Cube, Surrey's first collaborative workspace, or makerspace.

‘Carpe Diem’ secures success for community-building mechatronics student

June 05, 2017

One piece of advice sums up mechatronic systems engineering graduand Dylan Belvedere’s SFU experience: “Take advantage of every opportunity that comes along.”

In 2015, the community-minded mover and shaker founded Maker Cube, Surrey's first collaborative workspace, or makerspace.

Since then, Maker Cube has flourished from a library-based meet-up to a thriving community space for young entrepreneurs, and even sprouted two startups.

Its success earned Belvedere a spot in the 2016 Surrey Board of Trade’s 25 Under 25 list, and helped him land a full-time job at a local tech startup before graduation.

“I think of Maker Cube as a place where people can collaborate on projects and seek and share knowledge,” says Belvedere, who initially funded the space using his own money.

For a small membership fee, people can get creative with the wide range of tools on offer, including woodworking and electronics equipment, a sewing machine and even 3D printers.

Belvedere and a team of five Maker Cube members also hold science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) workshops at Surrey-based schools, youth clubs and libraries. In the past year alone, these workshops have reached more than 1,000 local children.

“For me, it’s important to be part of the innovation happening in Surrey—I wish I had something like Maker Cube growing up,” says Belvedere, who also created course content for Science World’s robotics program.

Raised in Lake Louise and Magrath, Alberta – small villages of fewer than 2000 people – Belvedere adopted a mantra for success: push yourself out of your comfort zone.  

“I’ve always wanted to try new things and do new things,” says Belvedere.

At SFU, he volunteered as a residence orientation leader, co-founded scent diffuser start-up ORA Scents, and in 2016, became president of the Mechatronic Systems Engineering Student Society.  

He even went to China twice – on an academic exchange followed by a co-op work term in 2013, and an all-expenses paid placement with the Huawei Seeds for the Future program in 2016.

Belvedere, who also completed a certificate in Chinese studies at SFU and speaks conversational Mandarin, says he would consider returning to China to work someday.

But for now, he is focusing on his new role as an integration engineer with Vancouver-based Plasmatic Technologies, which develops innovative home technologies.

The company’s founders came across Maker Cube online and were so impressed with the initiative, they reached out to Belvedere. Ultimately, this connection led to a job offer.

“I’m applying all the different areas covered in the mechatronics program at SFU, like making circuits, doing embedded programming and even 3D modeling,” says Belvedere.

In addition to developing his technical skills, Belvedere also plans to continue to grow Maker Cube’s outreach initiatives to inspire even more local children in the coming years.