MakerSpaces, HackerSpaces, and Innovation Labs
These names are sometimes interchangeable. Our vision is to make the best kind of space for our area, providing our community with the resources they want and need to get ahead without costly overhead.
But what is a Makerspace, really?
Tool and Equipment Library
We all know that you don’t need to buy a full set of weights, a swimming pool, treadmill, and racquetball court just to exercise. No, if you want to work out, you can get a gym membership, and if you just want to play racquetball occaisionally, you can just get a day pass when you want to play. Similarly, if you need to weld something from time to time, or are just learning how, there’s no need to own your own welder. There are plenty of examples of tools that only get occasional use but cost a lot of money to buy. Collecting tools like that in one place where people can come and use them gives every household or business more flexibility in their spending power. Typical tools found at maker spaces include:
- 3D Printers, for fabrication and prototyping 3D objects in plastic.
- Volt-Ohm Meters and Soldering Stations, for electrical engineering and basic electronics.
- CNC Mills or Laser Cutters, for fabrication and prototyping using sheets of wood or metal
- Machining and Woodworking Equipment
- Large Format Printers
- Photo Development Equipment
- Silk Screening Stuff
- Computers, for basic business use, software/web/application development or for higher-powered design, editing, and rendering applications.
- Industrial Sewing Equipment
- Other crafting, design, production, and fabrication tools
- Software, for editing images/videos, computer aided design, and much more.
Learning and Teaching Space
Having access to a teaching space can make all the difference to a person with something to teach. Given the proper facility, people with specialized knowledge have a way to make extra income with thier teaching or seminars. A teaching space should be multipurpose to accommodate all kinds of presentations and participation. We want our teaching space to have these things available:
- Digital Projector and Screen
- Microphone and A/V Equipment
- Plenty of Chairs
- Work Tables
- Power Outlets
- Wash Sink, for cleanup
- These items can all be stashed away to take up minimal space when not needed, whenever possible.
These spaces can be used by many segments of the community. Small businesses can use them for employee training. Community groups can use them for meetups. Entrepreneurs can use them for seminars. Private groups can use them for film screenings, shindigs, etc. Educational organizations can use them when additional capacity or equipment is required.
Meeting and Work Space
Not every home has space for a home office. Around here, not every home has a good internet connection. Maker Spaces or Hacker Spaces are places where many professionals can work. Having access to a shared workspace can help freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs. A co-working space will typically have:
- High Speed Internet
- Quiet Workspaces, with or without computers
- Coffee and Water
- Microwave, Fridge, etc.
- Common Areas, for brainstorming, networking, and casual meetings.
- Private Conference Room, for confidential meetings.
- Video Conferencing Station, for good quality Skyping or Google Hangouts.
- Plenty of whiteboards
- Having access to these resources is a boon to any business start-up. With a low overhead, and access to shared resources, businesses have more money for innovation and other areas.
Innovation and Business Accelerator
Question: What happens when you have a co-working space, with a multipurpose teaching facility and a library of tools and resources? Answer: A place where small businesses grow faster. Not only does a hacker lab save small businesses money, they are also places where people can explore and unlock innovative ideas. A place like this will attract the interest of investors who know where to find the the people working on the next big thing. Ideas can naturally blossom into business ventures. Prototypes can be designed and created on site, and networking opportunities abound. Innovation Labs themselves are like an instant investment in your small business, by saving directly from the bottom line, due to the increased resources and reduced overhead. But they also attract venture capital, and good human resources, for when your business is ready to expand.