Makerspace Movement #fsi2014 (Notes)

These are my notes from the session “Makerspace Movement” presented by Amber Castens, Jeff Ginger, Colten Jackson, Emily Knox, Jamie Nelson, and Vishal Sachdev at FSI 2014

There are lots of fun toys in the back of the room (I spy a Maker Bot Replicator 2x!) – makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication, education.

Three makerspaces: CUC Fab Lab, Illinois MakerLabMakerspace Urbana

Makerspaces are a return to making and an extension of the arts movement.

Some great quotes:

  • “We give people the tools to make things”
  • “Makerspaces are spaces where people hang out and learn from each other – whatever you are passionate about”
  • “They aren’t spaces for using tools, they are spaces for meeting people”

Jeff Ginger from Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab:
Makerspaces fit with land grant university’s missions of serving the community “we are 50% university, 50% community”
Strong Open-Source ideology
Provides workshops & consulting
The Fab Lab Process: Imagine, Computerize, Prototype, Share (repeat, and jump between as necessary)

Why makerspace?

  • You can create the world – move from consumer to producer
  • Critical inquiry – break open the black box and rework it
  • Making is connecting – social capital and networks
  • Digital literacy – preparation for the workforce and civic participation

How do you get started?

  • Go to Make magazine’s website for their makerspace playbook
  • Find grants
  • Find groups who will donate equipment, time
  • Consider dues-structure to pay for materials (e.g. pay to get a 24/hr access key)
  • Start with limited funds and build
  • Find a space to meet weekly (library, garage, wherever!), then find members who will contribute (like a club)
  • Start with interest, not specific projects
  • To start a Fab Lab – get an institution facilitation, take a class at MIT for certification
  • Build a case for how it impacts the community

Liability issues?

  • Insurance through institutions
  • May inherit insurance through association with official organizations
  • Limit tools to those that wouldn’t hurt you
  • Details in the playbook from Make Magazine

Products that have come out of the makerspace with the business school?

  • U of I taught a course called Making Things that was a partnership between business school, engineering, and maker space
  • Students went from idea to prototype and some had a finished product 

Tools beyond 3D printing

  • It’s the space more than the tools (people bring their own tools)
  • Tools that you might not want to buy (even though they might not be expensive)
  • Sewing machine, serger, spinning wheel
  • Wearable electronics
  • Laser cutter
  • Computers & digital production
  • One design, multiple tools (CNC plasma for cutting steel, cut out of vinyl, embroidery, etc.)

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