What to do at a Makerspace

Have you wondered what projects people work on at a makerspace? Whether they are independent or a part of a group? If the makerspace is anything like Kzoo Makers, you will probably find a variety of activities.

Kzoo Makers has space in two different buildings next to each other, and areas within the buildings are zoned for types of activities. For example, the arts and crafts area has a monthly open project night on the second Thursday of the month. We also try to coordinate a specific project on the third Thursday of the month. For example, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we made hearts and other decorations with polymer clay in February. (You could see the red from the clay on my hands until after I washed them.) We also created a Snippet Wall Hanging as a group and learned how to create mandalas. Look for other blog posts here with fuller descriptions.

It’s not all arts and crafts, though. In fact, after listening to an expert from the Audubon Society in February, many attendees stayed to build a bluebird house in the wood shop. (I recently heard that a bluebird has moved into at least one of those houses). If you come on a Tuesday night, there might be others who utilize the Raspberry Pi lab from 5-6pm or ask a question of someone with more expertise. Similarly, on Thursday evenings, you might find a busy 3D printing area or that projects are being run on the laser cutter. Both areas have someone dedicated to answering questions on Thursday night. These areas are accessible to members during all open hours.

One reason that I like being a part of the Kzoo Makers is that there is a lot of creative energy flowing. It is interesting to see what others like to work on and how they put it together. For example, look at what Georg did in the Bass Balls: Taking the Low Road post. I learned a lot just by asking him questions. Or, how about Chris’ metal roses?

So, yes, I do go to work on my own projects, which are usually photo related. It wouldn’t be worth the monthly fee if that was all I was going to do. The best part is learning from others, either because of their projects or from their knowledge of something new to me. The other great part is that I do not have room or money to purchase most of the equipment, and a Kzoo Makers membership allows me to access what they have (with proper training) for a fraction of the cost. I had not heard of a surger before, for example. Now that we have one, I have seen it in action as one of the other members has been figuring it out. Look at her go in this video!

And finally, sometimes it is fun to go and socialize, which is scheduled weekly for Saturdays from 5-6pm and may happen informally during any of the open hours. We even have popcorn nights sometimes to watch projected movies in the meeting area. Sound like fun to you? If you haven’t already, you are invited to come and tour during open hours and learn more about becoming a member.

What do you want to make?

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