Volunteer Opportunities – September 2012

  • We’re getting close to renting a space so we really need to find a treasurer. PLEASE contact us if you are interested or know someone who might be.
  • There are numerous services (Amazon, Eventbrite, PayPal, Amazon, WePay and others) that make it easy to collect online donations. We need someone to research them and choose one for us. We also need someone with WordPress or web experience to put a donation button on our web site. There are numerous WordPress plugins to chose from.
  • We need someone to find and install better software for our Wiki. WikiMedia is widely used but it’s very difficult to learn and use because it doesn’t have a WYSIWYG editor. And the WordPress plug-in we’re using now is buggy and it’s not being actively supported by its developer. There are WYSIWYG plugins available for MediaWiki and there are many other free Wiki programs we can chose from. We need someone to pick a good one and set it up and test it for us.

Keep checking if you don’t see something here that you want to help with. We’ll be regularly updating this post.

A Tour of ADX Portland

ADX Portland’s “Factory” Floor. All photos courtesy of ADX Portland.

ADX is a for-profit maker space located in Portland OR that describes itself as “Equal parts workspace and incubator, our membership-based community unites multiple creative disciplines within a 10,000 square-foot facility that is accessible, collaborative & affordable.”  They opened in May 2011 and have about 150 members working in a 10,000 square-foot building. We have been closely studying them because they are one of the world’s best run and most successful maker spaces.  All photos courtesy of ADX Portland.

 

ADX Portland’s lobby includes a counter top they made from a log

 

Woodworking Shop

 

Welding and Metal Fabrication Area

Continue reading A Tour of ADX Portland

Update – August 2012

I know there’s a lot of questions on where we stand right now in launching our Maker Space. Here’s the update:

Our biggest obstacle right now is publicity. We’re only about 3-½ months old and almost no one knows our name or what a maker space is, but that could change very quickly. College students will be returning to our area soon and we’ll be putting up posters on the various campus’ to generate interest. We’re also trying to come up with other inexpensive and effective ways to publicize ourselves. If you have any ideas then please email or call me.

We were recently mentioned in the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper and two other local publications have shown interest in doing stories on us. We’re also steadily getting new subscribers to our email announcement list. There is definitely growing interest and excitement about what we are and what we are planning so we want to be ready to quickly rent a space when we think we have enough prospective members to move forward. So we’ve found a lawyer we like who can quickly form our non-profit corporation and we’ve talked with a CPA and an insurance agency.

We’re also looking at real estate and talking to landlords. We found a space at 17 Industrial Street in Rochester’s up and coming Cascade District that we want to discuss renting temporarily at at our next meeting on September 5th @ 6:30 PM at The Flying Squirrel. If there is strong interest in it from prospective members then we could have our maker space open by October. And if there isn’t then we will at least have a better idea of what we should be looking for. Your input is important and I look forward to hearing your thoughts at the meeting on September 5th.

All great organizations need a great business plan and we are working on ours. One of our problems is that we don’t know how much permanent space we will need. The majority of successful maker spaces (and hackerspaces too) almost always go through huge growth spurts, which requires moving to bigger locations. So we’re trying to come up with realistic cost estimates for running three different size maker spaces: 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 square feet of space. Some costs are not easy to estimate (like utilities) so if you, or someone you know, has had experience renting commercial real estate and would be willing to be a mentor, we could certainly use the help.

We’re are also looking at ways to raise startup funds. We have someone willing to help pay the rent for a short time, but we’re going to need a lot more money than that to open our doors and equip our space. So we’re going to try creating a “Founder’s Club.” The first 100 people to donate $100 would get the right to call themselves a Founding Member of the Rochester Maker Space and get their name engraved on a large plaque that will be permanently displayed in our space. Additionally, Founding Members will receive a certificate or perhaps an additional memento to express our appreciation. We are also going to try using KickStarter or other crowd funding sources and we will actively seek donations from businesses, organizations and professionals. Again, please share your thoughts and ideas with us through email or at the upcoming meeting.

As always, we greatly appreciate any help or support you can give us, any suggestions you may have to the topics discussed here, or any additional thoughts that may help us in launching the maker space. If you have any questions always feel free to contact us via the contact page on our website or post a message in our forum.

I look forward to seeing you at the Flying Squirrel at 6:30pm on September 5th.

Thanks!
Rob

Let’s Talk About Renting at 17 Industrial Street

The space we’re considering is currently being used as a storage and work space. You’ll find another photo below showing a empty finished space that is almost identical to the one we’re interested in.

Wyatt and I looked at a 1700 square foot space located in an old factory at 17 Industrial Street that is being completely renovated. The price is very reasonable, we like the landlord and he seems very willing to work with us. We’ve also been looking at other locations and we’re going to continue to look at more. But we think we need, as a group, to seriously consider renting this space.

If there is strong support for it we’ll move forward and see if we can come to an agreement that will allow us to move into it in October. And if there isn’t, then we’ll at least have a better idea of what we need to look for.

This would be just a temporary space. We would not have room to do all the things we would like to. We also wouldn’t have extra space to rent out to members who want a private work area or storage. But we’ll still have lots of room and tools to work with, like the 3D printer we just ordered. We’ll also have a place to have classes and other activities. And maybe most importantly, it will give us instant credibility by proving that we’re not just talking about starting a maker space in Rochester.

The building is in Rochester’s Cascade District and it’s easy to get to. It’s only a couple of minutes from RT 490 no matter what direction you’re coming from. It’s in a neighborhood filled with offices and loft apartments. There is limited off-street parking but on street parking probably won’t be a problem, especially after 4 PM weekdays and on weekends.

The entirely building is being completely renovated. Our space would be on the second floor, reachable by both stairs and an elevator. It’s wide open with a hardwood floor, brick walls and lots of large new windows. There are plenty of electrical outlets, the bathrooms are new, and heating, air conditioning and electric is included. The landlord also seems to be willing to consider providing free rubbish pickup. So our only addition expenses might be just Internet and insurance.

Our next formal meeting is going to be in early September. But many of us have often been meeting for breakfast on Saturday mornings to informally discuss things. I’d like to do that again in the next week or two to discuss this space. Meeting somewhere on a weeknight is also possible if it’s convenient for more people.

I’d also like to set up another meeting with the landlord before then so others can see it before we talk about it.

If you’re interested in seeing it or meeting about it then please leave a comment below or let us know via our contact form.

Continue reading Let’s Talk About Renting at 17 Industrial Street

A Quick Look Inside Artisan’s Asylum (Video)

Artisan’s Asylum is located near Boston and it’s probably one of the world’s biggest and most successful maker spaces. They started out in about 4,000 or 5,000 square feet and then expanded several times. They currently have 31,000 square feet and I’ve heard they’re considering expanding to 40,000 or more. I don’t think this video shows just how big they are because the bicycle rider goes pretty fast and doesn’t turn his or her head much.

In addition to providing access to well-equipped workshops (woodworking, welding, machining, bike repair, electronics) they also rent various size spaces for storage or private work areas. That’s what the cubicles are for.

We’re also planning on renting affordable private work space and I’m very curious about why they didn’t make their cubicle walls higher and enclose them a little more. Wall space is very valuable in a workshop because you can hang tools or shelves on them. Walls can also help contain noise and dust.

 

The First Public Library to Create a Maker Space is Nearby

A Makerbot Replicator (TM) similar to the Fayetteville Library’s 3D printer

According to this Forbes article, the Fayetteville Free Library is the first in the United States to create a maker space within a public library. If Fayetteville sounds familiar it might be because it’s near Syracuse and not that far from Rochester. The library calls their maker space “Fab Lab” and it features a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer.

The lab was Lauren Smedley’s idea. She wrote a graduate school paper about it that the library’s executive director liked it so much she hired Ms. Smedley to make it happen.

Public libraries are looking for ways to evolve and the FFL is not the only one that has added a maker space. We wrote not long ago about the Westport Connecticut Library. They held a “maker fair” last April that was so successful they also decided to create a maker space inside their library.

We’ve been quietly discussing buying a 3D printer right now and using it in library meeting rooms until we can rent our own space. Now I’m wondering if we should try and formally partner with some of our community’s libraries.

The libraries could learn, without cost, if access to 3D printers or other tools is something their patrons would like. And if it is something they can provide, like the computers and computer classes they provide now. Our maker space would get valuable publicity and places to regularly use our 3D printer and hold classes about it.

Anyone interested in going to Fayetteville soon on a Saturday to learn more about their “Fab Lab” and MakerBot 3D printer?

Status Update – July 2012

We’ve made a lot of progress since our web site went up in early May.

We have a small hardworking group of founders who have been working steadily on promoting the Rochester Maker Space and developing our business plan. We also have an impressive amount of tools to start with and some seed money to work with. So we’ve begun looking for both temporary and permanent locations to rent.

Nearly everyone who is currently involved lives on the east side of the city or in the eastern suburbs. So that’s probably where we’re going to be unless we get a huge donor who influences our decision.

We’re still months away from being able to rent a permanent location but we need to start looking at possible locations to gather cost information for the financial section of our business plan. We also need a better estimate of how many members we’ll start with and how much space we’ll need. We probably won’t have one until at least October, after the college students have returned. Our goal is to open in a permanent location by early next year.

In the meantime we’d like to find a small (1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft.) and inexpensive (~$500/month) temporary space that we can rent within the next two or three months. A temporary location will give us more credibility, help us attract members, and give us a place to work in and hold classes. It’ll also give us an opportunity to start learning on a small-scale how to manage a maker space.

But before we can consider renting any kind of space need to accomplish several things.

  • First, we need to find a lot more potential members. To do that we need to continue publicizing the Rochester Maker Space. We also need to do a better job describing what we’re trying to create, what we’re going to offer, how we can benefit the community and what memberships will probably cost.
  • Second, we need to find more people who are willing to help us with our huge to-do list. This is probably the most difficult challenge facing us. So please contact us if you’re interested. We have very simple things you can do to help, along with some more challenging ones.
  • And third, we need to find a good, affordable and personable lawyer to setup our not-for-profit corporation and advise us in some other ways. We can’t rent a space and buy liability insurance until we do so. Forming a corporation will require us to formalize our management team, prepare bylaws, and raise funds to pay for our legal fees. If we can’t do that, and also prepare a good business plan, then we probably shouldn’t even be trying to start a maker space.

When we first started I thought we would appeal mostly to engineers, geeks, hackers, hobbyists, entrepreneurs and other technically oriented “makers” who wanted access to machine tools, welding and metal fabrication equipment, woodworking tools, laser cutters, electronic test gear and 3D printers.

But then we decided we also wanted to make artists and crafters feel welcome. And as a result we’re getting an enormous amount of interest from that part of our community. We’re still not sure what they need in terms of tools but we have learned that access to workspace is very important to them and also all kinds of “makers.”

We’ve also learned that many of the most successful maker spaces have been able to achieve financial stability and create well-equipped community workshops by renting extra space to their members who want it for additional storage, a private work area or even an office area. So we’re looking into doing that also.

We also once thought we could be a completely volunteer run organization. But now we’re not so sure of that. We’re worried that 3 or 4 people (or fewer) will end up doing most of the work and that won’t be sustainable for long.

We still intend to rely mostly on volunteers to hold costs down (expect regular group work sessions to fix machines or sweep floors). But we also think we need to at least consider getting to a point we can afford to hire at least some part-time help.

By the way, we’ve already decided we’re going to pay instructors because we think it will help us attract better ones and make it possible to schedule classes more regularly. But we haven’t decided yet how much to pay them.

So, our business plan is becoming more complicated and we need to spend more time working on it, especially the financial sections. But we’re already pedalling about as fast as we can. So we could really use some help with it.

Please don’t be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions in the comments. And we hope you can make it to our next organizational meeting. It will be at 7 PM on Monday July 23rd at the Webster Library.

Our Next Meeting is on Monday, July 23

The Rochester Maker Space is having another organizational meeting on Monday, July 23rd @ 7 PM

This time we’re going to be meeting in the Webster Library’s meeting room. It’s at 980 Ridge Rd, near the Hard Road exit of RT 104, in the plaza across from Staples and BJ’s).

Come early to socialize and network. There will be refreshments.

 We’re going to discuss

  • Our goals and vision
  • Renting a temporary space
  • Buying a 3D printer
  • Getting more help with our to-do list

Please join us. We need your input and help to launch a non-profit community work space with affordable access to a wide variety of tools and classes. A place where you can meet and collaborate with other talented and creative people.

Makers Org NZ

Makers Org New Zealand

Makers Org NZ takes the concept of a makerspace to a new place. Traditionally these clubs are a space for members to come together, share project ideas and learn new aspects of design while using communal equipment that would be too expensive to buy on their own. Members of Makers Org NZ get all that—except the space and equipment parts.

The club has no actual space of its own, but instead arranges get-togethers and offers a place for people to share the projects they have made. It aims to be “the online focus point” for makers in New Zealand, and has links to other actual makerspaces throughout the nation. Makers Org NZ also organizes and promotes workshops, including some a bit outside the traditional metalworking and woodworking found at the average makerspace. One workshop taught participants how to assemble and play Nebulophones, which are small electronic instruments that create synthesized music. Once the workshop ended participants were able to share a few beers and have a jam session.

While bringing together makers and creators is the main aim, the overarching goals Makers Org NZ are a bit more high-minded. It tries to bring people from all walks of life together, from professionals to new graduates to simple enthusiasts who love their craft. The club has a special attention on children, trying to impart in them a “maker mindset” that steers them away from a consumer lifestyle and teaches them to create for themselves.

Makers who visit the site can find forums about tips and projects and a calendar with meet-up events throughout New Zealand. There are links to the five other makerspaces in New Zealand, along with short descriptions of each one and the features they offer. The site also connects members to resources, like online suppliers and a 3D printing company based in New Zealand.

Organizational Meeting: Saturday, July 7th at 10:15

Calling All Artists, Inventors, Creative Brains & Maker of Things

The Rochester Maker Space Project is hosting its first organizational meeting on:

 Saturday, July 7th @ 10:15 AM

in the Penfield Library’s Ruth Braman meeting room,

(1985 Baird Rd, just north of Rt. 441 in Penfield)

  • Meet all the creative genius’ in our midst (yourself included)
  • Share your ideas and vision for the Rochester Maker Space
  • Learn what we’ve accomplished and what we still need to do
  • Help plan a road trip visit other successful Maker Spaces
Help us Invent and Launch the Most Creative Workshop Ever!

Join the Rochester Maker Space on July 7th!

More info? Call Rob @ 585-210-0075

Donate Today!

Donations are taken through Paypal. Thank you for your contribution! Any bit counts!