So, where exactly are we at?

Here’s where we are in the (long and sometimes convoluted) process of building a makerspace, as of 11/18/17.

We have a solid financial projection together, and have incorporated that into a business plan and proposal.  The numbers and estimates are based on what is a substantial track record for existing, successful makerspaces across the country.  This plan, by the way, looks pretty encouraging, bottom-line wise.

We are in conversation with several potential backers, and are pretty encouraged with the prospects.  Several pieces have to fit together to make this happen, and, as a friend is fond of saying, 90% is halfway there.  On the flip side, the initial investment in equipment is significantly less that what we’d expected.

We already have an amazingly large community of people interested in this project.  We have makers, builders, artists, interested from Lynn as well as surrounding communities.  We have local government getting behind the project, and extending all the way to Washington – expect to see more about that soon.  Local business associations are catching wind of it, and they understand the considerable impact of a project like this on the local economy.

We’re working on what could be a remarkable space, right in the heart of Lynn’s downtown.  There are a lot of things at play there, so we’re expecting a few months before we know anything for sure, but everybody who’s involved seems to be invested in making it work.

We’re getting right into the holiday season, so everybody’s time is short and schedules are packed, but we’re trying to put an informal “meet-and-greet” together so we can all get our heads together and work out details as a community.

As you can see, we have a URL and a website now, as well as some social media, and we’ll be building on that as we go forward.  Don’t hesitate to send a note if there’s something you feel is missing!

Honestly, we don’t have a target date to open yet, there are just too many balls in the air right now, but as soon as we do, you’ll find out about it here!

Keep building, keep making!  Play nice and clean up after yourselves!


What is a MakerSpace?

The idea of a MakerSpace centers around group ownership and support of tooling and technology that is out of reach of the average individual. One of the very first MakerSpaces, the Artisan’s Asylum, started between three friends in a dorm room at Olin College as a way to pool resources. (The Artisan’s Asylum is now a self-sustaining, 40,000 square foot fully equipped facility in Somerville, MA and has inspired the formation of several other startup and shared resource facilities.)

The core of the MakerSpace model is to enroll members, for a monthly fee, who in turn have access to workspace as well as tools and technology available, after short introductory certification classes (depending on the complexity of the equipment). A member can rent storage space, as well as more permanent studio space at what is generally slightly less than market rates for similar spaces. Classes in technique and specific tool use are available to both members and non-members.

MakerSpace facilities mirror the needs and interests of the community. Most MakerSpaces feature fully equipped wood and metal shops, electronics labs and rapid prototyping shops with technology like 3D printing and molding. Often the spaces will host printing facilities, textile studios, traditional crafts and sculpture studios – even bicycle shops. Imaging, in the form of digital photography, traditional photography, scanning and output are also common offerings.

Beyond simply individuals who need shop or studio space and facilities, MakerSpaces are also populated by small, startup businesses that need extended facilities but need to keep their development overhead low. Corporate memberships, often offered in bulk and at a discount, allow larger companies to foster a “sandbox” culture among their design staff, as well as provide software and equipment the company doesn’t have to purchase. For any company trying to develop a prototype, the MakerSpace model allows a profound cost advantage over more traditional solutions – one example was of a startup developing what would become a successful product, able to prototype the design for $2500. The original estimate for the same prototype through an outside vendor was $250,000.

Possibly the most successful for-profit models of the MakerSpace idea is TechShop. TechShop is well established in several locations across the country, and has a proven formula that is a viable reference for creating a MakerSpace model.