It is always a big moment whenever a great idea is born, because it can mean something great is about to appear. But before an idea can become a reality, it has to be created. But what happens when someone has an idea, but they have no means or tools to implement or create it?
That’s where makerspaces can come in. A makerspace, also known as an “incubator”, “fab lab” or simply a local hobby or wood shop, is a communal workshop filled with the best small tool sets and technology that may not be accessible to everyone due to the cost of purchasing, storing or maintaining them.
Many makerspaces come with laser engravers, 3-D printers, wood and metal working shops, and countless other small tools for members to use. Some also may come with the materials to build things with, such as lumber, wood or metal. Rather than buy all of the tools or equipment needed to actualize their ideas, members only need to pay a monthly membership fee.
Making Tools Accessible Through Education
Even with the means to access tools and technology, that doesn’t mean anyone first entering a makerspace will know how to use them. However, where makerspaces provide a place to build something, they also may create educational accessibility. One of the driving ideas behind makerspaces is that every person in a makerspace will have a slightly different background of skills, which they can then share with the rest of the members of the space. Not only does this promote education, but it promotes safety, as education helps to ensure that nobody uses potentially dangerous tools incorrectly.
The Impact of Tool Makerspaces on the Public
Whether a person is a novice or a pro, makerspaces may have an impact on people’s lives. They ultimately push new skills and products into the public sphere. They make it easier for everyone to get their hands on the tools to create new ideas and products. The people in Makerspaces spend a lot of time trying to come up with ideas. These new ideas for a new type of chair need to be user-friendly and possibly sellable to the general public. They bring people together who are just as concerned with quality as they are about quantity. The end result is that people with all education levels have an opportunity to learn and benefit from using the tools to make make new things.
Even if the product created is a simple spice rack, chair or table, they were created within a community of shared tools and ideas. What really defines the success or failure of the space though is the attitude of the people who show up to it day after day. The inventors, woodworkers and metalworkers in a makerspace aren’t usually concerned with profits or fame. They are, however, interested in ideas, learning, creating products and building things. They’re ok with failure or wood joints that may not join.
Makerspaces have been boosting the economy out in both direct and indirect ways. They may be difficult to regulate and predict, but that’s part of what makes them so effective. By letting people be who they are. And by creating and making things with tools, without the additional pressure they may face at an everyday job. The woodworkers, inventors and builders have a chance to flourish in ways people could never have imagined. What’s truly remarkable about makerspaces though is that their products end up in homes, offices, and facilities across the country! Maybe even one day in your own home.