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Meet the Makers: Maker13

Located in Jeffersonville, IN in the heart of an area newly designated as an arts district and in the middle of rejuvenation we found Maker13.  Maker13 is a for-profit makerspace where members join to make products for their own use, for their business use or to sell as a business.  The embroidery machine is a big hit, getting solid usage and their laser cutters are almost always busy.  Users range from a local real estate agent who makes special closing gifts at the space to folks whose goods are for sale on Etsy and other websites.

Tool/equipment usage is all taught through project based classes and completing a class gives members the ability to use the equipment for their own personal projects.

The space is also very active in the community ( see the photo of a giant light bright board under construction for an upcoming community event) and have a solid but growing membership who sometimes just meet for maker chat over coffee and a snack.

We are happy to have this group in our Indiana Maker family and look forward to continuing to see great things happening here.

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Meet the Makers: First Build, a Rapid Prototyping and Micro-Manufacturing Center.

We got the chance to make our first visit to a full production Rapid Prototyping and Micro Manufacturing Center the other day, when we stopped by First Build in Lousiville, KY.

I had to chuckle when our guide started out the tour saying ” I have never been to a makerspace, people tell me I am spoiled”.

A collaboration between GE and University of Louisville, but open to the public- First Build provides local makers ( or distant ones traveling through) access to all the tools you know how to use.  Upon logging in, creating an account and signing the waver, you are a “member” and are granted access to their Maker area.  This includes basic power tools, 3D printers, soldering/electronics, board reflow ovens, graphic design/CAD capable computers and laser cutters. The more powerful tools are in the Craftsman area, which is accessible only when you have passed competence assessment on the tool you want to use.  There are 4 pieces of large equipment in the Craftsman area that no one other than staff are allowed to use ( impact of downtime is too large for their production needs).  You can, however put in orders for those pieces of equipment and pay reasonable costs for machine time.  It is important to note that First Build does not provide any training, so if you want to use some equipment here, you need to hit up youtube or other training sources before making use of the facility.

The GE staff who are located here have a goal to design at least 12 new product designs/product upgrades each year.  If you are an appliance geek, you can design along with them- they have collaborative online designing capabilities. If your designs are used, you will share in royalties as well.  Everything here is open and shared with contributors, a true breathe of fresh air in approach from a large corporation.  The Opal ( for the good ice) is an example of a GE product birthed here.

University of Louisville students frequently use the space for class projects, and GE staff mentor engineering students for their capstone project.  It is a win/win- with the students having access to production level equipment to learn from and GE sourcing great potential new employees from the students who pass through.

Since First Build is fully owned subsidiary of GE, they implement full 5S practices in the space and have daily 8:15 staff stand up meetings to discuss the priority of short batch production orders that have come through from GE and other special orders.  A typical short production order ranges from 100-1500 parts.  The electronics components they have for sale are all the standard GE parts, allowing them to go from prototyping to production easily.

We loved their signage, especially how they put links to manuals or instructional videos in the Maker room on or near all the equipment.

Like everyone else, we can tell them they are spoiled, but are glad this resource is reasonably close and available for others to share.

 

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Meet the Makers: Make Nashville

A special shout out and word of thanks to the good folks at Make Nashville who gave us a tour while we were in town for other business.

Things we loved/learned from while we were there.  They made great use of Amazon wishlists by having a wishlist for each area that listed consumables and frequently needed supplies. Then that list was posted in the area.  This allowed people to easily make donations of stuff, or to buy their own supplies and know they would be compatible.

We are officially requesting a copy of their new member orientation, as the gentleman who started our tour had been a member less than a month, but knew to make sure we signed in, had liability wavers and gave a great walk through.  How many of us could count on brand new members to “get it right”?

Although they have only been in this space for about a year and a half, it looked and felt like they had been there much longer.  Folks we talked with agreed that spaces go through changes in their lifecycle, and noted that they had just recently reworked their space and moved many areas around, accommodating growing equipment capacity and changing member interests.

Make on Nashville, we do need to define an interstate partnership project….

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Meet the Makers- MakerHive

20170817_193646The MakerHive is a Makerspace in Elkhart Indiana.  They started life as Make: Goshen back in late 2009/early 2010  and have survived and thrived through name and location changes.

 

 

The space is overflowing with 3D printing experts and 3D printers. 20170817_193700

Member have helped to run the Midwest RepRap fest for a number of years, and the founders of SeemeCNC are members as well.

20170817_193710  On an open night, members gather together, working on small projects, talking about ideas and collaborating on projects.  20170817_19371620170817_193724

 

Every corner of their space, which exists on the second floor of the founder’s business is crammed with making capacity.  But as in every successful makerspace we have visited so far, there is always room for some fun and a quirky personality. 20170817_19373020170817_194033

 

 

 

 

 

Collaborations in the space happened fluidly, with knowledge sharing a high priority.

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Members in the  space also create and sell add ons and third party parts for SeeMeCNC 3D printers as an online business.  Some of the proceeds of this are donated back to the Makerspace to help fund new ventures and activities.20170817_200553

 

Although their space is currently a little tight, they are excited to be partnering with the Ethos Science/STEM center and will soon have a new Maker home inside that facility.  We look forward to visiting them again in the spring, once their move is complete. 20170817_193642

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Meet the Makers: Inventors Forge in St Louis.

20170812_145249 We had the pleasure of visiting the folks at Inventors Forge in St Louis recently.

They started the makerspace in this ex-retail space, with a growing group who is passionate about making.  Size constraints of the space did not slow them down- with a cooperative landlord, they haul the table saw out into the parking lot when they need to use it here. 20170812_145251 They have well equipped workstations for electronics, laser cutting, 3D printing and woodburning  that are obviously well used. 20170812_14525820170812_145311

 

 

 

 

 

Social Spaces are an important feature in any makerspace and they have successfully incorporated a nice discussion/snack nook into this space.

There is evidence of their quirky sense of humor and some fun found in many little details in the space.

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20170812_145343Storage is efficient, and closet space is well used at Inventors Forge.  They also added some walls in the space and created a great classroom space that easily works for 12-16 people.  They frequently do workshops and classes in this space both for members and the public. 20170812_14535020170812_14540120170812_14552620170812_155101

 

They were blessed to receive a grant from the state of Missouri that allowed them to expand and add a second space inside the local business incubator.  This grant funded equipment as well as rent in this new space.  They have focused the new space on expanding large equipment, and are still in the process of bringing some equipment online. 20170812_15512720170812_15522320170812_155226

While much of the equipment here is larger, they also have a great collection of hand power tools and have added sewing machines as well, and are hoping to expand membership interested in fabric related making. 20170812_155340

Thanks again to the folks at Inventors Forge for taking time to show us around, talking about your successes and struggles and having a great vision to continue to grow the maker community.