by Liam Kivirst
Maker Spaces are independent community spaces designed to attract local creative minds and give them the tools they need to team up, tinker, invent, and produce. To power the members’ creativity, Maker Spaces house a large selection of tools and equipment for members to use on their projects. Depending on the space, these tools span from basic hammers and screwdrivers to large and complicated machines like laser engravers and water cutters strong enough to slice through steel.
Maker Spaces are often independently owned or operated, some as nonprofits and others as for-profit corporations. The facility itself can be a small 800-square-foot nerdy nook jammed full with 3D printers and circuitry, or an expansive 15,000-square-foot facility that allows the designers, hackers or inventors to go from idea to prototype to final product. Each operation adapts to fit their local environment, community needs, available resources, and talent to share. Tech Shop, with nine locations across the country, is so accessible for inventors and entrepreneurs, it’s likely you’ll find at least one person operating their business from the space itself.
Maker Spaces attract a unique crock-pot of designers, inventors, and builders. The pool of members changes based on the size, location, and focus of the Maker Space. Members range from high school and college students to retired engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Collaboration, however, is an essential ingredient for what’s being programmed, cut, crafted, and created. Monthly membership rates correspond to the scope and caliber of the equipment available for use. Databases like makerspace.com make finding one near you a breeze.
Whether you’re working on a hobby project on the weekends or prototyping a technology that will change the way we live, Maker Spaces are powerful demonstrations of how technology and collaboration can provide just the spark needed for the next big breakthrough.
Photo Credit: Norton Gusky