Tucked away in an old Masonic Temple in Rome, Ga., the 7hills Makerspace is a non-profit group that allows members to come together and share tools and resources in a close community. The workshop brings together a collection of artists, engineers, economic developers and even business people to work on projects.
Following in the tradition of its Masonic home, the organization requires that new members be “sponsored” by two existing members. The club has a slate of open meetings and events in its space to give newcomers a chance to check it out and meet other members. Once they become members, they pay dues and receive a key to have full-time access to the space, though 7hills Makerspace notes it can terminate memberships of people who “flake out, go bonkers, embarrass 7hills” or engage in other kinds of disrespectful behavior. It’s clear the club strives for a tight-knit community of people looking to help one another grow in their skills.
Though the club keeps the spirit loose, the equipment at 7hills Makerspace is serious. They have a 40W laser cutter/engraver that can cut wood and acrylic up to 1/4-inch thick, a 12×12 CNC router, a MakerBot 3-D printer, a computerized sewing/embroidery machine and much more. In all the collection has tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. And the tools themselves aren’t the only cool part about the shop. It is an open, bright space with room for sitting and reading books about various aspects of design that it keeps in a library. There is even a large-screen television for watching the instructional videos and DVDs that the club keeps.
7hills Makerspace is as active online as it is in the shop. The organization maintains a website with frequent updates about events and projects along with technical resources and links to neighboring maker spaces and clubs. One member made a recent post about how he learned to operate the laser engraver, using it to carve a design into the cover of his cell phone. The organization also has a fairly active presence in social media, keeping an e-mail group and pages on Facebook and Twitter that, unlike many other clubs, actually post updates and links to relevant articles.