Makerspaces are a new phenomenon that’s currently exploding in popularity. The term “makerspace” refers to a shared community space that provides access to cutting-edge tools for techies, students, inventors, and anyone interested in making.
There is no set definition for what makerspaces offer. They might contain anything from classes on using the latest Firefox browser, to industrial sewing machines and metalworking tools, to 3D printers and laser cutters. And these communal facilities are popping up everywhere.
Here are five makerspaces in various U.S. locations that any techie would love:
Location: Somerville, MA
Fees: $85 for a 5-pack of day passes, $60 to $150 per month memberships, various fees for work space, storage space, and classes
Website: Artisan’s Asylum
At Artisan’s Asylum, diverse users share a space that offers a wide range of classes, and a comprehensive selection of tools and equipment. The space is divided into shops that include a computer lab, a rapid prototyping lab with 3D printers and laser cutters, welding shop, wood shop, machine shop, jewelry and lampworking shop, electronics lab, and many more.
ChiPubLib Maker Lab
Location: Chicago, IL
Fees: Free classes and associated materials, materials fee for open shop time
Website: ChiPubLib Maker Lab
This makerspace is part of the Chicago public library system. Launched in 2013, the ChiPubLib Maker Lab holds regular events, lab classes, and workshops, with use of tools and equipment that include 3D software and 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and a milling machine.
Location: Austin, TX
Fees: Memberships starting at $60 per month, varying fees for workspace and storage space
Website: ATX Hackerspace
With classes from auto repair and bartending to web development and replication, and sponsored events that include chiptune concerts and a Global Game Jam, ATX Hackerspace provides a community for creators. Frequent meetings and events provide motivation and encouragement, and memberships include personal storage space and unlimited classes. Available equipment includes a 3D printer / replicator, laser cutter, a Virtual Instrumentation Suite, and more.
Open Hardware Makerspace (OHM)
Location: Raleigh, NC
Fees: Material costs only
Website: Open Hardware Makerspace
This makerspace affiliated with North Carolina State University maintains a free-to-use open lab space on the university campus. OHM offers skills training, collaboration opportunities, and a wide range of tools and equipment — from hand tools and power tools to 3D printers, vinyl cutters, oscilloscopes, a Geiger counter, Eggbots, and an Arduino-based Polargrapher bot.
Location: Honolulu, HI
Fees: $60 to $75 per month for memberships
Currently in the process of moving to a new and expanded space, HICapacity offers a wide range of classes with an emphasis on programming, frequent themed community nights, and tools and equipment that enable 3D printing, 3D modeling design, working with Oculus Rift, and more. Members pursue everything from silkscreening and conductive painting to virtual reality and brain-computer interfaces.
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