If you are familiar with the makerspace concept and live in the Waukesha, WI area I invite you to attend a meeting that will discuss the possibility of starting a makerspace here.
The makerspaces are an interesting concept, whose members are from many avocations and vocations. You get a fusion of ideas and the spaces allow those folks who have moved on in life and find themselves in a condo or apartment to set up a shop.
Check it out
Is the concept going to be anything like Techshop? Some donated, some purchased machines shared with a monthly membership/usage fee? How is abuse/misuse of equipment and tooling controlled?
The Makerspace proposed for our area is in the formative stages. I am not familiar with the Techshop concept, but I will check that out as well. They appear to be a for profit or funded arrangement, what we are after is self funded and equipped. Not probably as well equipped at first, but independently operated.
There are many of these around the country, and while they have many different makeups, each group can use the 'templates' that are available and still incorporate any rules that we would see fit.
One of my concerns is how to control the equipment and regulate the safety protocols so that everyone can have a good time and still go home with all the bits that they came in with. That is part of the preliminary discussion that is taking place today.
As interested in the concept as am, I still have time to see what direction the group wants to head before I commit any of my resources. I will post any relevant info here if others want to see how this progresses.
I was the shop foreman at the TechShop that was here in portland during its short life.
The main things you will need to focus on is how you are going to pay for the space and utilities and what to do with the equipment.
There are several of these places around the country. Here in portland there is a non-profit one called Brainsilo and a for profit one called ADX. From what I understand there is one guy at brain silo that ends up paying most of the rent himself. ADX is really expensive, $125 per month for the wood side and the same for the metal side. As far as I have been told it is no where close to making a profit. There is another one in the bay area called Noisebridge, they are non-profit as well and I think they have funding from some major corp to keep the place alive.
These things are hard to keep going. People are cheap and don't want to pay. Especial the "Artists". Don't let non-profit status fool you either. Non-profit takes a lot of work to make the requirements.
As for the equipment, almost all of these places have very basic tooling. Mini-lathe, maybe a home made cnc router, basic electronic equipment, etc. Some places like tech shop do have bigger stuff. We had training for just about anything where you could hurt yourself or the machine. And we charged for that as well. No income means no maintenance. At tech shop it was pretty much considered if the machine was damaged or broken it would be repaired. Failure to get assurances this would happen stopped a successor to techshop locally.
All the consumables, cutting tools, metal stock, abrasives, who supplies that? Is there a toolroom and an attendant who signs stuff in and out or sells it to you? If you damage a machine, break a band-saw blade, who's responsible for the cost?
For consumables like lathe bits and mill or router cutters the members supplied thier own. For stuff like bandsaw blades TechShop supplied that.
In the time we were open there was very little damage. People understood that if they broke it no one gets to play. Anything that did get damaged was rapaired paid for by TechShop.
Accidents happen. The place must be prepared for that. Very few times did I have to talk to anyone about it.
The local group, which has been established for a little over a year, has the benefit of a generous landlord.
Given the rates that they charge, about $70 per month, their continued long term success is more likely.
They have some nice woodworking equipment, and two OK lathes and a cnc knee mill, 40 watt laser cutter and a couple of small 3d printers.
From what I see at the beginning stages, it will take some level of participation by the lessee to make this happen. We will see.
I3detroit.org was a pretty good space. The cost was cheap. Generally individuals owned each and every tool in the space. They were parked there, but others could use the machines. In some cases you had to prove competency / safety before you were allowed to use a machine, but things were generally not policed all that much. The group did have a VERY active users group and a lot of management stuff did happen there..
The users were divided into two groups of personalities.. There were craftsman who wanted to make specific project then there were hackers / artist types who wanted to understand how things worked. They made projects quickly and moved on to other things.
A lot of the folks seemed to be apartment dwellers and this was their garage shop space.
You had to assume that you were responsible to bring your own consumables for any project. Sometimes stuff broke, often times the workspaces were left messy for the next guy. (You'd have a 30 minute project that you couldn't start because it took you 30 minutes to clean up the workbench, aaaargh!)
There were many social activities, not my personal thing, but lots of folks participated. Overall a pretty good deal.. but don't forget a LOT of industrial machinery is available cheap in the Detroit area, so all of this would cut down on costs.
I'm no longer a member, I was stuck working out of town too much, didn't have the time I wanted to spend there. Now I'm doing my own thing, in my own shop. One thing I do miss was the energy created when like minded individuals got together to bs about interesting projects... that is really worth something.
at any rate, good luck with it.
We have moved along a little bit further in our quest to open a Makerspace here in Waukesha, WI.
We had our second meeting earlier this July, and have scheduled another for the second Sunday of each month in downtown Waukesha at the Martha Merrill Book store and Cafe 231 West Wisconsin Ave.
We meet for one hour at 2PM. If you are in the area come on down.
So, has this gotten off the ground?
I am involved with a small group in SW Connecticut that is working to organize a hackerspace/makerspace. Currently wrestling with a lot of fundamental questions and issues, do not yet have a physical space.