Makerspaces are social workspaces where people come together to realize creative projects. Lying somewhere between a machine shop, an art studio and a science lab, a makerspace offers low-cost access to a variety of professional tools for designing and building: from 3D printers and scanners to drills and soldering irons. No idea how to use a laser cutter? Makerspaces often run workshops on how to use the tools they have available as well as specialist skills such as programming and lock picking. Part one of my internship at the Digital Science Center has been to seek out these spaces and see what they have to offer the amateur innovator. Try out any one of the five local community spaces below to start getting involved in the Maker movement.
NYC Resistors is a well-established makerspace based in downtown Brooklyn. Co-founded by a group of tech professionals including 3D printer guru Bre Pettis, the space is equipped with a laser cutter, 3D printer, hand tools, sewing machines and stocks of DIY kits and components. Walk-ins are welcome on Monday and Thursday nights or at the regular study groups on Micro-controllers and Web Development. Daily classes are also run on topics such as soldering and programming ($50-125). Members enjoy full use of the space for $75/month.
NYC Resistors, 87 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217; email@example.com
Founded in July 2009, Alpha One Labs aims to provide a ‘fun, tool rich space for users of all ages and interests to work on projects together’. The space holds weekly meetings every Tuesday at 7pm where anyone can bring along projects they’re working on and brainstorm collaborations. It also hosts regular events on programming, robotics and lock picking as well as weekly ‘Solder Sundays’ at 1pm. Membership costs $40/month and gets you 24 hour access to the workshop, class discounts and a free t-shirt.
Alpha One Labs, 231 Norman Ave #312, Brooklyn, NY 11211; firstname.lastname@example.org
The only Manhattan-based space on the list, Hack Manhattan is right off Union Square and plays host to a variety of meetings, classes and talks by leading tech companies. Learn how to design a circuit board, operate a 3D printer or experiment with microcontrollers while meeting fellow enthusiasts for tech, science and the arts. The space boasts a 3D printer, machine shop with lathe, mini-mill and drill press, sewing machines and soldering irons. New faces are welcome every Tuesday night to drop-in and chat about creative projects.
Hack Manhattan, 137 West 14th St. Studio 201, New York, NY 10011; email@example.com
Pushing the bounds of what it means to be a makerspace, Genspace brings together amateur science enthusiasts to work on biotech-related projects in a fully equipped community laboratory. For absolute beginners, classes are offered in DIY Neuroscience, Synthetic Biology and DNA barcoding by members with doctorates while hardcore enthusiasts can opt for the week-long Biohacker Boot Camp. If you’re wondering what biotech is, you might want to start out at one of Genspace’s regular education events; recent visitors have explored their microbial biome, learnt bioinformatics and created slime mold art pieces.
Genspace, 33 Flatbush Avenue, 7th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gowanus Studio Space (GSS) offers a home to budding designers, artists and craftspeople. Located along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, it houses a large arts workshop, private studios and an exhibition space. Members enjoy access to a drill press, lathe and saws in the woodshop while in the print shop they can get their hands on etching and lithography presses, silkscreen printing and glass tables. Recent classes have included textile printing, papermaking and photolithography ($40-100). Members have full access to the space for $95/month.
Gowanus Studio Space, 166 7th Street, Ground Floor, Brooklyn, NY, 11215; email@example.com