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Work Night this Wednesday (2/13), Dues & Founder’s Club

This Wednesday (02/13), starting at 6 PM, will be the first of many regular weekly work nights we’re going to have to make improvements to the space, fix tools, clean and organize, discuss issues and work on administrative and planning tasks. EVERYONE is welcome to come and help, although you will have to sign a liability waiver. You’ll also have to wear safety glasses. We’ll have some you can buy for $2 or $3 if you don’t have any.

Here are some things we may be working on:

  • Building workbenches
  • Installing security cameras
  • Cleaning, checking and tuning-up some of the tools
  • Buying wood and other materials at nearby stores
  • Searching online and calling about woodworking tools that are for sale
  • Planning classes and events
  • Working on the website, etc.

Although this is a work night, you are welcome to just come by to see the space and meet some of us. By the way, Saturday is also going to be a work day at the space, starting at 9:30 and going to at least 1 PM.

In case you haven’t heard, our furnace hasn’t been working. The maintenance man says a new one will probably be installed this week, but I can’t promise it will be ready by Wednesday. So it could be chilly in the space.

We also don’t have many small hand tools there yet or things like nails, screws, cleaning supplies, etc. So please bring along what you can.

We’re probably going to order pizza and put out a donation jar to help pay for it. It would be greatly appreciated it if you could bring and donate some soda, bottled water or other beverages so we have something to drink.

You won’t need a ticket, but we’d appreciate it if you would help test our Eventbrite pages by registering for this event and then giving us any feedback you think is important.

DUES

We still not sure how much we need to charge for dues. Plus, we want to grow our membership quickly instead slowly. So for the first two or three months we’re going to charge $40/month for an individual, family or student membership. And you can lock that amount in for as long as you want by paying in advance. We’re going to start collecting membership dues on March 1st.

We think that eventually a regular individual membership will cost about $65, a family membership about $75 and students will probably be $50.

Founder’s Club

In the meantime we need to pay March’s rent and buy all kinds of essential tools and supplies for the space. So I hope you will consider joining our Founder’s Club, which will be made up of the first 100 supporters who donate $100. You’ll get to brag that you’re a founder of the Rochester Makerspace, your name will be on a plaque that will be displayed in the space, and you’ll probably get some other kind of perk or reward (t-shirt, coffee mug?).

If you can help then please send a check to Rochester Makerspace, 850 St. Paul Street, Rochester NY 14605, or give your donation to one of the officers/directors (Rob, Wyatt, Jacob, Nick or Chuck) the next time you visit the space.

By the way, donations made right now may not be tax deductible, but our attorneys are preparing our 501c(3) application and they will be sometime soon. But please don’t wait, we really need your financial help and support right now!

Thank you, and as usual, please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Tuesday Meeting Reminder! Pizza! (02/05)

Hey Everyone!

Just a quick reminder and/or notice to all of our supporters that we will be having an informal meet-up at the space tomorrow night at 6:30pm. One of us will be in the space by 6:00pm if you want to come early, hang out, and talk with us or other members.

Our intention is to show the space to anyone who is interested, and to talk about our first project: Building workbenches for our space. If you want to volunteer, be involved in that effort, or want to share what times work for you please come and let us know.

If you can’t make it please join our Volunteer Group to be updated on the project.

We will also have time to answer a few questions. However this will not be a brainstorming session. We need to focus on what’s pertinent for the coming weeks, use our time wisely, and ensure that our message is clear. Thank you for understanding.

Here is a map of the space’s location. Google also has an image for point of reference. To get into the space turn down Scrantom St. off of St. Paul. Drive to the back of the building and you will see a gate to a parking lot to your right. Turn in, park, and walk in through the big bay doors. Go through the door, turn left down the hallway, and you will see us congregating.

We will be ordering pizza for everyone at 6:30pm, so come hungry! See you there!

Ready, Set, Go! – Space, Meetups, Etc.

Hello Everyone!

There’s a lot of exciting news that I am here to report, but I first wish to thank all of our supporters, volunteers, and to all those who have contributed to the Makerspace in some way. The only reason we have accomplished what we have is due to the people who are behind us. So again thanks.

We also realize communication and updates haven’t been our strong suit as of late. We realize this has left many of you in the dark, but other matters were more important. Many tasks could only be accomplished by a few of us, and we put forth all of our free time to getting us a step closer to being open.

With that being said I am pleased to announce that in this past week we finalized our insurance and as a result we were able to sign our lease! For those that don’t know we will be taking up two spaces at our 850 St. Paul St. location, for an approximate total of 3800 sq. ft. Both have been completely renovated, and will more than fit our needs for the time being.

But this is just the beginning! The real work has yet to start. A lot needs to be done to prepare the space, move tools into our location, and ready our organization for memberships and all that entails. We need plenty of help moving in, and we plan on beginning this weekend. If you have a truck, a van, or any other means to help us in this process please let us know by getting in touch with us on Google Groups.

We will also be building workbenches, shelves, and other necessities for the space. It doesn’t matter if you have no woodworking skills. This is an opportunity to learn, meet other members, and get involved in building out the space!

To start this process we are having an informal meet up on Saturday at the space from 11am to at least 2pm.

We understand that this is on short notice, and because of that we will also be meeting on Tuesday as well. One of us will be in the space by 5:30pm Tuesday, and we plan on ordering pizza around 6:30pm for everyone. Whether you want to show up before, during, or after is up to you.

Coming to one of these meet ups would be a great opportunity to find out how you can help, or offer a contribution to our effort. Expect more emails and check our blog for more information and updates. We are hitting the ground running so expect things to move quickly!

If you plan on coming either day please get in touch with us on Google Groups. If you see an RSVP thread, please do not create another one.

I look forward to meeting with all of you, and working with you in the next couple of days. Please see below for images of the space and another of Rob signing the lease! (The way to exit the images is by pressing ESC, good luck!)

Directions:

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We’re going to have pizza and a 3D printer at our next meeting (12/18)

I just want let you know that we’re going to have pizza at tomorrow’s meeting.  We not sure how much to order.  If you can, we’d appreciate it if you’ll let us know if you’re going to be there.  We’re also not sure what kind of pizza to order other than pepperoni. So we’d also appreciate some suggestions, especially if you’re a vegetarian.

We’re also going to bring along our new Solidoodle 3D printer.

We have a lot to discuss and decide but we may be busy eating pizza, getting to know each other, and answering questions.  So we’re going to have second meeting this week, an informal one, on Thursday, December 20th, at 6:30.  

It’s going to be held at Rob Storms’ 2,000 square foot workshop located at 175 Norris Drive. It’s next to the Sound Source music store, near Cobbs Hill and Winton Rd. Rob is a “maker” who has a strong interest in bicycles, among other things. He’s been to every Burning Man Festival except for the last three, which he’s had to miss because he was caring for an elderly relative.

You’ll have two opportunities to eat free pizza this week because in addition to letting us meet in his workshop, Rob has generously offered to buy us pizza. He’s also become a strong supporter of the Rochester Makerspace and he has pledged to buy a year’s membership.

Tomorrow’s meeting is at 6:30 in the Brighton Memorial Library meeting room, 2300 Elmwood Avenue. We hope you can make it.

Meeting December 18th @ 6:30pm!

Hello everyone!

I am happy to announce that we will be having a formal meeting on December 18th @ 6:30pm at the Brighton Public Library! This meeting is long overdue, and we have a lot to discuss. Whether you are currently involved or not doesn’t matter, because everyone is invited and encouraged to come.

We will be discussing our next steps and filling volunteer positions. If you want to get involved or are looking for something to do this would be a great meeting to attend. Are opening is imminent, and there’s a lot to do!

Hope to see you there.

Brighton Memorial Library 2300 Elmwood Ave. Rochester, NY 14618


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Status Update – December 2012

We’re not promising this, but it looks like we’ll be signing a lease and opening our makerspace in a few weeks. Many volunteers have helped get us to this point. But even so, we’re struggling to get some critical tasks done and the problem is about to get much worse.

We will soon have to quickly create the policies and procedures we’ll need to run our makerspace, organize and schedule classes, figure out where to put everything, build workbenches, tune-up tools and equipment, and much more.

Many of these things we’ll have to do only once. But we’re still going to have a continual need for more help than we’ve ever had and our makerspace will almost certainly fail if we don’t get it. I’ve been involved with many volunteer-run organizations and I’ve seen it happen.

What help do we need?

  • We need a treasurer and a secretary. These are officer positions. If you want to make a difference or have a strong say in how the makerspace is run, then volunteering for one of these two jobs will guarantee it.
  • Volunteers to manage and promote each major area of interest: woodworking, art, machining, welding, metal fabrication, kids programs, sewing, 3D printing, crafts, computers & electronics, and others. You’ll decide (hopeful with input from others), how to organize and run your work area, help choose equipment to buy or lease, safety and training procedures, and more. (BTW, we need to come up with a good title to give these volunteers.)
  • We’re going to need many work benches and tables. We’d like to build most of them ourselves from wood or welded steel because we think it will save us money and be a good opportunity for our members to learn new skills. And mostly importantly, because it will encourage teamwork and help us build a strong community. So we need volunteers to find good affordable designs and lead construction teams.
  • Volunteers to take charge of our marketing and fundraising efforts.
  • Volunteers to plan and promote our grand opening.
  • People with good writing skills who are willing to help create content for our web site, write training and safety materials, respond to letters and emails, apply for grants, be proofreaders, etc.
  • We need someone to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to buy a SawStop table saw for our woodworking shop, which will stop instantly if someone’s fingers touch the blade.
  • Leaders who can come up with group projects that will attract interest and help from both members and nonmembers. They can be anything, but we would like to have some that will use our talents and tools to benefit or enrich the Rochester community.
  • Finally, our greatest need is for people who are willing to try and do whatever needs to be done, even if they don’t know how to. Starting a business, or in our case a nonprofit, requires learning and doing a variety of things you’ve never done before.

In case I haven’t been clear enough, WE REALLY NEED MORE HELP RIGHT NOW! So please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send us an email if you willing to help in some way. And as always, we want to hear your input or suggestions about anything.

Some Other Makerspaces

For decades individuals have pooled their talents and financial resources to create community woodworking shops, darkrooms, art studios and other facilities so they could pursue activities they couldn’t afford on their own. What’s different about makerspaces is that they provide the tools, space and community needed to support many different activities and interests.

ADX – This makerspace in Portland, Oregon, describes itself as “dual parts workspace and incubator, our membership-based community unites multiple creative disciplines within a 10,000 square-foot facility that is accessible, collaborative & affordable.” ADX opened in May 2011 and they have more than 150 members.

Artisan’s Asylum – Located near Boston, Massachusetts, Artisan’s Asylum started out about 3 years ago in 1,000 square feet and then expanded to 31,000 square feet. One reason they’re so large is because they have more than 90 private work and storage areas, ranging from 50 to 250 square feet, that their members can rent. Their very well-equipped facility also offers a wide range of affordable classes.

Columbus Idea Foundry – This makerspace is located in Columbus, Ohio, and operates in a 25,000 square foot building that has 4,000 sq. ft. of classroom and gallery space, 10,000 sq. ft. of studio space and 11,000 sq. ft. of workshop space. Their mission is “to provide tool-access and tool-education to small businesses, creative artists, and YOU.”

Fayetteville Free Library’s Fab Lab – The first makerspace to be created inside a US public library is not far away, near Syracuse. It includes a 3D-printer, a laser cutter and computer workstations with sophisticated design programs.

TechShop – “A membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make.” It was started in 2006 as a for-profit membership based workshop in Menlo Park, California. Since then they have expanded across the country and are now in six cities, with more locations planned.

The Crucible – This educational facility “fosters a collaboration of Arts, Industry and Community. Through training in the fine and industrial arts.” It was started in 1999 in a 6,000 square foot warehouse in Berkley, California. It has grown to 47,000 square feet and they are now probably the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the United States.

A surprise, private work areas & what a membership will cost

A large group of us recently looked at the 2,800 square foot space at 850 St. Paul Street I recently told you about. I think everybody liked it. I thought we had an easy decision to make but then we got a big surprise.

The landlord knows I’ve been worried about quickly outgrowing the space so he offered to put us in an 18,000 square foot space and just charge us for the amount of space we actually use. His generous offer will allow us to grow as quickly as we can, without having to worry about starting out in a space that might be much too small, or too big and unaffordable.

Private Work Areas

The extra space means we’ll be able to support more tools, activities and members. But there’s another reason why we’ve been worried about having enough space. We want to have enough room to be able to offer our members private work and storage areas at a low cost and without a long commitment. (Don’t worry, there will also be plenty of free workspace.)

We want to do so because we think there’s a strong need for it and it will benefit many in the Rochester community. We’ve already received inquires from people asking if they can rent space inside our makerspace. And we know that other makerspaces have had a strong demand for similar space.

Artisan’s Aslyum is a good example. They have 90 private spaces ranging in size from 25 to 250 square feet that are fully rented and have a waiting list. The extra revenue from those spaces has made financially stable and it has helped pay for some very impressive tools and programs. So we want to find out if their model will also work here in Rochester.

Membership Cost

To rent a space you’ll need to be a member and we haven’t talked much about how much that will cost. We’re not sure yet, but a monthly membership will probably be $65 and we may offer a very substantial discount to those who are willing to take a chance on us and pay for a year’s membership in advance. We may not do it right away but we’ve also considering daily, student, and family memberships, along with scholarships.

Getting back to private work areas, the huge space we’ve been offered comes with many details that haven’t been worked out yet and maybe some problems. For example, it’s a great space but it’s nowhere near as bright and inviting as the smaller one. So we would really like to know how much interest there is in private work areas before we accept the landlord offer. And unfortunately, we can’t tell you a lot of details yet. Even basic information like how much it’s going to cost. Although, I can tell you that we will keep the cost as affordable as possible.

A Decision Will Be Made Soon

Although it may seem like it, renting space at 850 St. Paul is not a done deal. The building and spaces are great, it’s centrally located and easy to get to from 490, we really like the landlord, and the rent is extremely affordable. And the neighborhood is not bad, although it’s not a great one either.

But we learned at TEDxRochester about some other locations that need to be considered and a commercial real estate agent began helping us for free. So our already very overloaded group of volunteers is responsibly looking at other possibilities. But we are not going to keep looking indefinitely and we are probably going to choose a space to rent within the next couple of weeks. We’d really like to get your input before we do that. So there will probably be a meeting and you can always contact us or leave a comment.

Come see the space we may rent at 850 St. Paul Street

Sorry, I know this is short notice, but we want to invite everyone to join us at 5:15 PM tomorrow (Thursday, November 8th), at a space that we may rent. It’s 2,800 square feet in a huge old factory building that is being renovated at 850 St. Paul Street. It’s at the corner of Scrantom Street, about a half-mile north of the Genesee Brewery, and about a mile from the inner loop and easy access to Rt. 490 east and west.

If you come, please drive down Scrantom Street to the rear parking lot and meet us near the loading docks. Call 585.210.0075 if you have any problems finding the building or us.

The space is being completely renovated. It will be clean, bright and inviting. There will be new bathrooms just outside our door and the landlord has agreed to install a key card system for the main outside door and our space.

The building has a large parking lot and the entire property is surrounded by a fence with an electrically operated gate that is usually closed after 6 PM. You’ll be able to drive up to it in your car and enter an access code to open it or you can buy an inexpensive remote control for it.

We like this building because the rent is very affordable and it includes heat. There is also room in the building where can expand if we grow, and we expect to grow rapidly. We’ve also been offered reasonable terms that will allow us to break our lease if we need to.

This location and space is the best one we’ve been able to find so far in our price range. There is a high probability that we may rent it. So, now is the time to speak up if you have any objections or concerns.

On Monday, at TEDxRochester, we learned about other properties that may meet our needs. And some people even offered to help us find a space to rent. We’re going to follow up on those leads and take advantage of the help. But we’re not going to keep looking indefinitely. Our goal last May was to open a Makerspace by the end of the year and we’re going to try and keep to that time table.

TEDxRochester 2012

Our booth at the TEDxRochester event.

Yesterday the Rochester Makerspace converged at TEDx Rochester for an overwhelmingly successful event. I first need to thank the event organizers, Jennifer Indovina from TED for inviting us, and all of our new potential members who stopped by our booth. It was exciting to meet you all and I sincerely hope that we will be meeting again in the near future.

I also need to make special mention to our volunteers; Jon, Heather, Jason, and Chuck. Thank you for helping out, bringing your cool stuff along, making this fun, and appealing to newer members. An honorable mention also goes to our supporters who have helped us along the way, and to everyone who sent their images to be used in our display.

TED and TEDx Rochester are about, “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Organizers seek out speakers that have ideas, organizations, or missions that have a positive impact on their community or humanity as a whole. The TEDx Rochester differs from the big TED in that it is independently organized, and focuses on speakers who are doing those positive things right here in our own backyard.

All of the speakers we heard are trying to move this community forward with novel and reasonable approaches to problems that Rochester faces. Most if not all of the attendees also had interesting things that they were working on. The overall sense that I gained was that everyone in attendance believed that these methods were working, that change at the community level was certainly possible, and that many of these projects are already having a meaningful impact.

Jon, Rob, & Heather at our booth.

This led to a captive audience not only for the speakers, but for our booth as well. The Rochester Makerspace is trying to fulfill a need in and for our community with a fresh approach. Many of our visitors expressed their excitement for our mission, and showed an expressed desire for all of the benefits that the Makerspace will bring.

This awesome opportunity brought with it a wonderful and interesting group of supporters, who I personally look forward to working with as the Rochester Makerspace moves forward. We also made contact with people who have roots and influence in our community, that I suspect will be of great help in the coming months.

There is a lot of work to be done between now and when we get our doors open. I know however that with this momentum, there is little that we can’t handle. We are also actively searching for assistance and volunteers. If you are interested please reach out to Info@RochesterMakerspace.org, join our Google Group, or introduce yourself on our forums.

We will be looking at least one space this week and we encourage all to attend. Rob will be sending out more information on that later. Again many thanks to all those I have mentioned, and I sincerely hope there is no one I have missed. Thanks for making the TEDx Rochester event amazing, and I hope to see you all very soon.

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