Ideas and designs can often stay exactly that without proper access to equipment and knowledge on how to bring them to fruition. This is where having the right occupation (think machinist), a friend with tools and equipment, or a makerspace can really come in handy. Much like your local gym has afforded many people access to equipment that would be too costly or take up too much room has done for fitness, the local makerspace has bridged this gap for the makers, inventors, and small business owners.
Making A Way
Having access to the proper equipment and training for that equipment is something that is vital for project realization. Often the cost of equipment can kill any idea before it even has a chance to be created, and that is where a local makerspace can help. Even as a small business, you have to weigh out every dollar spent, whether that be advertising, materials, employees, or equipment. For a small monthly fee, normally less than $100, you can gain access to several hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment that you don’t have to maintain.
It is that very concept that has allowed many people to take an idea and bring it to market for a low overall cost. For example, in the past you might have to buy a CO2 laser at a cost of $10,000 – $30,000 just for a proof-of-concept. That amount of money is a large risk in comparison to monthly membership at your local makerspace.
Another advantage of a local makerspace is the ability to bounce ideas off of other people, gaining knowledge from those experienced in the business / processes of making, and to gain some great contacts. As with many community spaces, a makerspace will develop a culture, and often times this culture is one of sharing ideas and helping out other members. This can perhaps be just as valuable as the equipment and training.
Since makers are typically curious by nature, they often inquire about other projects going on in the makerspace. It is this very trait that leads to the community and information sharing that can save time and money by learning from others.
The local makerspace near Samtec’s headquarters is Maker13, and it was started by two employees of Samtec. Maker13 has a wide offering including equipment for wood working, metal working, CO2 lasers, 3D printing, 16 needle embroidery machine, long arm quilter, sewing machines, vinyl printer and cutter, electronics station, and welding (MIG, TIG, and stick). They also require training on every piece of equipment before it can be used. This not only ensures that you are set-up for success, but it also helps to maintain the equipment and prevent injury.
Reach out to your local makerspace and see what type of classes they offer, and see if they have any special events. This is a great way to check out their facilities and see if a membership is something that could benefit you.
If you are a maker and use the Arduino Uno R3, ARM mbed, BeagleBone Black, or the Raspberry Pi then make sure to check out Samtec’s expansion connector accessory kits here.
You can find out more about Maker13 on their website.