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Building a Maker Space Inside a Library

This short two-minute video describes the Westport Connecticut library’s plan to build a maker space inside its Great Hall. Patrons will then either be able to watch Joesph Schott, the library’s first “Maker-in-Residence,” build two very large (15-foot) wooden model airplanes or actually help him with their construction.  The finished planes will then be kept on display at the library.

Maker Works

Maker Works wants to be more than just a space for hobbyists to work on projects and socialize. The club, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan aims to help give a boost to the local economy by encouraging members who want to start craft-related businesses, adding what the club calls “micro-manufacturing” to the area.

Club organizers say the mission is especially important in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area, hit hard in past decades by the departure of automakers and manufacturing plants. The club sponsors a series called Crafting the Small Business that teaches the logistics of running a craft-based business. Participants can work with experts from around southeastern Michigan, including consultants, instructors and sellers.

Maker Works has workshops for metal, circuits, wood and crafts, each with benches and tables along with plenty of electrical outlets. Each area in the club’s open floorplan has top-of-the-line tools, like a Clausing Colchester Engine Lathe and Tormach CNC Mill in the metalworking area. The craft section has a MakerBot 3-D Printer and an Epilog 50W Laser Cutter, one of the club’s most popular tools. The club helps make work easier and more efficient for members, providing an online calendar where there can sign in and reserve tools for certain times. It even has a conference room with a whiteboard and digital projector where local maker groups can hold meetings.

Maker Works also offers different classes and camps to members, including Brain Monkeys camp, which encourages young students to learn robotics. In the summer Maker Works hosts three resident artists from the area to work in studios, giving them a chance to use the tools they might not otherwise afford. The club trains them on tools they are not familiar with and offers storage space and access to computer software. At the end of the summer the residents showcase their work to the public during an evening lecture.

Maui Makers

Members of Maui Makers don’t have to look far to understand the DIY ethic of the club. In fact, they don’t have to look any further than the building itself. Located in a shipping container that was modified and fitted into a workshop, the makerspace is a place for makers of all kinds on Hawaii’s second-largest island to meet and hone their crafts.

Maui Makers sees itself as something of a Fab Lab, with a focus not only on giving members means of physical production but also putting a strong focus on technology. Even in the smaller space, Maui Makers has the equipment to suit a range of interests. It has a Epilog Helix 24 Laser Cutter, a Cupcake CNC 3D printer and a desktop CNC mill. There are air compression tools, smoldering stations, wood lathes and saws and an inventory of microcontrollers and other electronics to round out the equipment.

The club has a lot of interaction with other DIY groups and clubs on Maui, including the Maui Techies group. It also collaborates often with artists from the Source International Arts Festival, an annual art, music and healing festival with a focus on multi-media arts.

To help expand the skills of its members, Maui Makers puts on a series of workshops focused on building beginner-level skills. There are classes on using the laser cutter, learning basic electronics and soldering and how to use the Makerbot or LabView. Maui Makers also holds open meetings every Thursday evening so members of the public can come and see what the club is all about.

There’s a lot more to Maui Makers than a converted workshop and weekly meetings. One of its initiatives, Young Makers Maui, aims to get young people involved in various aspects of making and encouraging them to showcase their work at an annual makers fair. The club has a very active Google Groups message board where members share ideas and talk about the projects they’re working on. There is also a wiki page with information about the club’s equipment and some of its areas of focus. Readers can also see photos and links to some cool projects, like one member’s plans to convert an aluminum ladder into a truck rack for carrying equipment. It’s a cool project for anyone to try out, whether they’re in Maui or not, and can save hundreds of dollars it would cost to buy a truck rack.

Artisan’s Asylum

Boasting a new 25,000-square-foot space that is home to more than 100 artists, fabricators and business people, Artisan’s Asylum has the tools and programs to accommodate any kind of interest.

The Somerville, Mass., club, which was cited by Boston Magazine as a reason why Somerville is the best place to live in the Boston area, has all the amenities of your average makerspace plus a few extras to make it more inviting. There is a kitchenette and dining area where members can eat and socialize, air conditioning and heating, access to a loading dock on the ground level and options for electrical service in their rental units.

The club has a very impressive collection of tools that includes a fully equipped machine shop, welding shop, woodworking shop, fabric shop, bike shop and electronics lab.  And they’re getting ready to add jewelry making and screen-printing shops.

Artisan’s Asylum rents extra space in various sizes to its members, with rental prices ranging from $5 for a shelf to $275 for a 200-square-foot workspace. These also come with wireless internet service.

The non-profit studio’s mission is to support teaching and learning, and it does so with a huge slate of courses and special events. The coursework covers everything from digital media to woodworking to glassworking and caters to all experience levels. The club also has a number of one-day introductory events, like its Intro to Bike Shop seminar, designed to give beginners an glimpse to what the club has to offer.

One of the weekly clubs using Artisan’s Asylum gained some national attention for a project it competed. The Robotics Intensive course, a group of 19 engineering enthusiasts, created a six-legged robot weighing 500 pounds and packing 135 horsepower in its propane-fueled body.

In addition to a website, Artisan’s Asylum also maintains a wiki page that includes direction to the club, floor plans and information about the different craft areas.

The Knife Maker

[vimeo width=”601″ height=”338″]http://vimeo.com/31455885[/vimeo]

Joel Bukiewicz wanted to be a writer but he found that he really loves making things and being part of a community that makes things by hand. In this short video he very eloquently tells (with a little profanity) how he started making knives for home and professional cooks, and what it takes to get really good at something.

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