For makers with plans for a large project and who want access to industrial size tools, the expansive workshops and multitude of work areas at the MakerPlace in San Diego is an intriguing model makerspace. From painting booths and electronic lab to wood and metal shops, there are an impressive variety of workspaces and collection of tools to produce both small and large scale projects.
Tools included embroidery machines, 3D printers, screen printing, CNC routers, lathes, mills, brakes, drill presses, saws, grinders and too many more to list.
Thanks to the community at MakerPlace for providing a warm welcome to me, a CCC Maker team member, and especially the impromptu tour provided by Rob. He told me that there are over 400 members who can join by the year, quarter or month. A punch for 10 days is also available as are corporate, family and junior maker rates.
The brochure describes MakerPlace – “think of it as your dream shop … the one you’d build if you had a really big garage and a huge budget … a large number of expensive tools, may computer controlled, available for your own use.”
According to Rob, a favorite starting place for new members is the laser cutter. Safety, equipment operation and introductory classes in 2D vector design help them get started. Once they master this tool, they are more likely to confidently explore the other tools. The willingness of community members to share their knowledge and offer assistance is part of the MakerPlace culture. Many classes are offered including Ardurino, copper enameling, 3D modeling, precious metal clay, sewing, wood working, welding and other tool operations.
A variety of locker sizes are available to rent for members’ work in progress. The roll up door makes it easy to bring in materials using the forklift. They also share a vendor list of local companies that offer discounts to members on wood, metal, plastic, paint and more.
Learn more about MakerPlace at their website.
Karen Fraser-Middleton is a member of the CCC Maker team and toured MakerPlace to gather more insights into how makerspaces are organized.