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Makerspaces: What are they, and why do they matter?

By: Charles Gantt | Editorials in Maker & DIY | Posted: Dec 2, 2013 3:04 am



As I mentioned earlier, with the modern on-the-go lifestyle and ever increasing cost of doing anything yourself, having a space you can visit to work on your project is priceless to some. At a Makerspace, you do not have to worry about disturbing your neighbors by using a power saw, or violating HOA rules when you open your garage to work on a project. The added benefit of having others around who may be more knowledgeable to help with your project is quite handy as well.


Some of the biggest innovations in modern DIY tech grew out of Makerspaces. Take for example 3D Printing. Before MakerBot's CupCake CNC 3D Printer was born at NYC Resistor, the only way to get your hands on a desktop 3D Printer was to build one piece by piece that you sourced from a Bill of Materials on Bre Pettis and NYC Resistor are truly the reason we have affordable, high-quality 3D Printers today.




Products are not only the thing to come out of Makerspaces that carry value though. Makerspaces routinely hold classes to educate not only their members, but the general public as well. These classes can span from simple Arduino coding sessions, all the way to full-on DIY welding classes. The Makerspace that I am a member of hosts a class every other Thursday for teens aged 11-17 that teaches them how to program, recycle components, and build projects from start to finish. I happen to be one of the instructors for that class, and get to see firsthand the impact this type of STEM education has on the next generation.


For the most part, the sharing of knowledge is what lies at the core of every Makerspace in the world. Many of their members take pride in being able to empower others to do it for themselves, and to help people buck the consumerist lifestyle everyone seems to be living these days. Imagine the innovation and positive community impact that would be generated if just one percent of the population joined Makerspaces and collaborated together to improve the world around them! It would be like nothing we have ever seen before.


Makerspaces are generally open to adults as well as teens. This allows our youth to be introduced to engineering and coding concepts well before they reach college, and is something our already struggling school system just cannot do due to a lack of funds and time. Makerspaces are the places where the next generation will develop their skill sets, and where they will hatch their ideas and plans for the next wave of technological innovation.

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