Ben asked today (ben’s post) if we have considered using Kickstarter to gain some funding. So this evening I searched for spaces who have run kickstarter campaigns. This search yielded some very positive results..
Here’s some of what I found:
Raised $34,000 of $15,000 Goal
by NYC resistor
Raised $3,000 of $2,000 Goal
Raised $5,000 or $3,000 Goal
Raised $12,000 of $10,000 goal
Raised $37,000 of a $35,000 goal.
(Hackerscouts looks like an amazingly fun program!)
These are success stories. Can we do something like this in Mobile? If we run a kickstarter would it get word of our organization out to the right backers?
We will be meeting January 21st, 2014 at 7pm to plan our events and meetings for February.
Everyone is welcome, location TBD.
Please attend if you would like to help us plan the next few steps.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Our next general meeting will be next Saturday on September 7th. This is open to everyone, so if you haven’t made a meeting in the past, now is the perfect time to meet everyone and get involved! Rick has secured a new meeting area in Shelby Hall on the campus of the University of South Alabama. This is another great step towards collaboration between our group and the university.
The first topic of discussion will be about our first Build Day. Build Days are centered around a specific project that we will all build together. For our first build day we will be creating a vacuum former. Have you ever wanted to make your own stormtrooper or Iron Man outfit? Well now you can! At the meeting on the 7th we will be deciding on a plan and assigning project responsibilities. If you are interested in this awesome project, you will definitely want to be there!
The next topic we will be going over our goals over the next 6 months, year, and two year marks. Fundraising ideas and what we want to do with those funds will also be discussed. We also want to hear from our members! What do you want and expect from the group? What other types of workshops would you like to see?
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!