June Business Meeting

The business and planning meeting for June will be held Tuesday May 27th. Business and planning meeting for June. Meetings are open to the public. If you would like to help lead the Mobile Makerspace, attending these meetings will give you a chance.

Business for June include:

  • The Hive
  • June LoDa Art Walk
  • Spark A Reaction Event at the library
  • Memberships and other organizational items

Location is Panera Bread on Airport Blvd at Montlimar Dr. Further venue information is included in the event details.

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Mobile Makerspace Community

March to May

I’ve been remiss in updating the latest happenings with the Makerspace.

Here’s a few things that have been going on since the last update.

Teen Tech Extravaganza!

Our second collaboration with the Mobile Public Library was a lot of fun.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We then had a planning meeting for April, we came to the decision not to have any events in April.

A couple weeks later we found out about Mini Maker Faire New Orleans.

Several intrepid members trekked to Louisiana to participate.

It was really great to see such fantastic support for our nearest Maker Faire.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Stay tuned for more pics and links and reports….

That brings us around to today, when we made our way out to Downtown Mobile and got the know the Rumor Union at their meeting this evening. They are doing some really cool things to promote Art and expose the work of more creatives and artists, our goals seem almost parallel. I think there will be more developments to come out of this meeting of groups.

http://www.rumorunion.com/

Members: if you have pics from these events, please consider sharing them, email me a zip file of pics or something!

 

NextFab Tour

I was in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago and I got a chance to check out NextFab.  I was really impressed with their setup to say the least.  It was a 20,000 square-foot warehouse that had been renovated.  It contained a cafeteria (under construction) as well as offices, woodworking shop, welding shop, electronics shop, a paint booth, a camera studio, and an assortment of 3D printers.

The first thing to know is that this is a for profit makerspace.  Their business model revolves around many different sources of income including paying members, corporate memberships, government memberships, renting conference rooms for presentations, renting classrooms for teaching, and business incubation.

Electronics Shop

They have about 300 paying members.  When I asked about the popularity of the different shops he said that the woodworking shop was the most popular.  The people working in the wood shop consisted of mostly hobbyists, but some were people who built furniture or custom woodwork who needed extra capacity or space to complete a specific job.  While I was there the busiest area was the electronics shop and product design.  Lots of projects and various forms of completion.

Membership Levels:

  • Community(1day/month) – $30/month
  • Weekends – $79/month
  • 7 Days a week – $130/month

One thing my tour guide warned about was space.  While he liked having a camera studio, it went unused quite a bit.  When they needed it, it was really useful, but otherwise it was wasted space that could have been used for something else.  He also said that they would take large deliveries and store them for a fee.  This allowed people to have their materials delivered to the shop instead of their house.  As he explained all of this, I began to realize that their ability to monetize space was very important.

Computer Lab

Nextfab also offers their conference rooms for rent.  I wish I had a picture, but it was really professional.  People who needed to present to venture capitalists, or give any kind of presentation can rent the room, which had a long conference room table and a projector mounted to the roof.  He also said that they would host corporate team building exercises as well.

In addition, they host a business incubator.  For a fee, a person can rent a small office and have access to the resources of the makerspace and 24/7 access.  They were hosting about 3-4 businesses while I was there.  My tour guide also said that several smaller firms and some government agencies had memberships.  Mostly to get access to the massive 3D printers onsite for prototyping and design.  This included a Z-Corp full color 3D printer!  All told, they had about 10 different 3D printers onsite.

Z-Corp color 3D printer

 

 

All together it was a great visit and I really learned a lot.

You can view the full gallery of my visit HERE.

August Wrap Up

Well, it has been one epic month for the Mobile Makerspace.  Our Google Plus membership stands at 92 members as of this morning.  This is great news and shows how interested the people of Mobile are in our group.  This has also been reflected in our physical meetings.  Each time we meet we have more and more people and its great to see new faces each time.

Click to view the event gallery

We have also attended several events this month including the LoDa Artwalk and Jagfest.  We met a lot of great people who showed a lot of interest in what we are doing.  One thing we did differently at this artwalk than in the past, was we had the kids make the LED throwies instead of just passing them out.  I think they liked that better and it is more in line with our desire to teach people about science and technology.  Dana Spisak’s LED sensor board drew a lot of attention and kids couldn’t resist playing with it.  Brent Quigley brought by some prints from his Ultimaker 3D printer to display.  The quality this printer produces consistently impresses me.  Thank you to everyone that came down and participated!

Jagfest was also a huge success and we got a lot of people to sign up for updates and notifications.  We had a lot of computer science and engineering students drop by the table.  Most of our senior leadership are all University of South Alabama alumni, so we hope to work more closely with the university in the future.

Click to view the event gallery

Last, but certainly not least, we completed our first workshop!  We had over 20 people attend our Arduino Bootstrap Workshop this Saturday @ Ashland Gallery.  Since it was our first workshop, it was a little crazy and we learned a lot, but I think everyone had a lot of fun.  We finished a little early (We will plan for more content next time!) and some people began to show off some of their creations.  Dana impressed everyone with his drawing machine.  It was based on an Arduino Mega with a motor shield.  It was a perfect compliment to the workshop since it showed everyone what can be done once you begin to create more complex projects.  Some other participants had a foam cutter that they demonstrated.  Its really exciting to see all of these talented people getting together to meet and exchange ideas.  I had a lot of great conversations and I feel really good about the direction the group is going.  At the end of the workshop Dana provided some door prizes and we raffled off some 3D printed objects, a coffee cup, and some prints from the drawing board.

Stay tuned we will have updated meeting and events scheduled soon!

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Mobile Makerspace

Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu 6PM - 9PM
entrance on Warren Street