This article appeared in . Make: Vol. 40
What makes a makerspace interesting? Itʼs not just the size of the shop or the number of active members. Nor is it the selection of tools or having an advanced RFID inventory system. Sure, those pieces count, but itʼs how a makerspace slots into its community — elevating and inspiring the makers — that makes it stand out.
Weʼve compiled 34 shops across the country that keep our attention, from those that have revived historic industrial sites to libraries that offer access to the latest tool technologies. There are hundreds more around the country; to find one or details on how to start a makerspace near you, please visit
makerspace.com and get connected. East
Somerville, Massachusetts – Artisan’s Asylum is one of the largest makerspaces in the country. Photo by Keith Simmons
Chattanooga, Tennessee – Itʼs literally the 4th floor of the Chattanooga Public Library, where the focus isnʼt on consuming knowledge but creating it, using high- and low-tech tools, and the space is open to anyone with a library card.
Reston, Virginia –
This space features giant lasers,
a beautiful woodshop, and a 1940s jukebox which streams Pandora.
New Haven, Connecticut – Engineers Without Borders, HackYale, and iGEM — the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation — are just a few of the student groups that use this campus space.
Brooklyn, New York – NYC Resistor claims some big-time founders, including Bre Pettis, but its chops also derive from a wonderful junk pile that members mine for odd parts. Home of the original MakerBot prototypes.
Longwood, Florida – Near Orlando, Florida, 4,000-square-foot FamiLAB regularly gets global guests, who exchage ideas and inspiration. They also produce the Orlando Maker Faire and offer a slew of maker tools.
Rome, Georgia – Located in an old Masonic Lodge, 7 Hills is possibly the most beautiful makerspace to lounge or work,
with murals featured on the walls and ceiling.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Members here are inventors, artists, scientists, engineers,
and more, who meet in a garage uptown.
Brooklyn, New York – Genspace is a biolab, offering biotechnology education to adults and children, as well as opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Columbus, Ohio –
This massive makerspace — around 75,000 square feet, including a new rooftop addition — is thoroughly integrated in its community, partnering with the nonprofit Community Development Corporation, the Center of Science and Industry, and the 400 West Rich arts facility. All occur within two blocks of each other in a re-emerging neighborhood, and the Foundry is already showing its influence; a handheld scanner company that got its start there has leased space in the neighborhood as well.
Minneapolis, Minnesota –
Minnesotaʼs largest member-owned, multiple-discipline shop features a cabinetry-quality wood shop, a welding studio, and a machine shop, but itʼs most famous for its life-size game of Operation.
Elyria, Ohio –
See the shop that President Obama visited and the CNC-milled sign that welcomed him.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin –
Milwaukee Makerspace offers detailed online tutorials for much of its equipment; they also house an active electric vehicle club.
Detroit, Michigan – Their extensive list of tools and equipment makes this one of the most established and
well-known spaces around.
Cleveland, Ohio –
The Cleveland Public Library moved its DVD library to make room for 3D printers, a laser cutter, kits, and collaboration space.
Chicago, Illinois –
Beer brewing is one of the staples here, alongside fabrication and wood and metal working.
Austin, Texas – ATX was the first hackerspace in Austin and, with 8,000 square feet and 180 members, is one of the largest in Texas. With full metal and wood shops, it houses electric car conversions, a 60-watt Universal laser cutter, and acts as a practice space for Arc Attack, the Tesla-coil band. Recent projects include “Alfred” the tool-retrieval robot and a colossal projection-mapped hexahedron sculpture.
St. Louis, Missouri – Electronics-heavy shop with an incredible roof-deck bar and view of the arch.
Omaha, Nebraska – Affectionately known as OMG, this space grew from a bakery basement (“The Makery”) into a 40-member shop that will help host Omahaʼs first Mini Maker Faire.
Bozeman, Montana – A small but growing space in a building that used to house livestock auctions.
Dallas, Texas – This community workshop also focuses on science lab work
and art, and especially
Louisville, Kentucky – Democratic roots run strong through the 8,000-square-foot LVL1, which started a “makerships” program for makers who canʼt afford memberships.
Lawrence, Kansas – Among other projects, this makerspace is home to a group of neuropsychology enthusiasts who are working on consciousness visualizations.
Mesa, Arizona – Home of Joey “Marshmallow Canon” Hudy and your typical scanning electron microscope hack; it’s free and open to the public, sustained by community donations.
Albuquerque, New Mexico – Famous for their interactive starship bridge, a four-headed 3D printer designed there, and the 80-watt laser cutter/engraver in their 6,800-foot space.
Sunnyvale, California – Originally a cooperative lab in a Silicon Valley garage, BioCurious grew into a member-based makerspace for biologists, complete with wet lab and biosafety certification. Instead of laser cutters and 3D printers, BioCurious offers centrifuges and polymerase chain reaction machines. The nonprofit is one of a growing class of biohacking spaces that are making real science experiments possible, offering classes and workshops as well as encouraging community projects, where members and nonmembers work together on research
Oakland, California – A vast, well-equipped space for learning fine and industrial arts, from blacksmithing to glass blowing to jewelry to stone work.
Portland, Oregon – ADX is one of a growing number of makerspaces thatʼll do the making for you; their Custom Design & Fabrication team helps design and build projects for clients. Of course, you can still build stuff yourself.
Reno, Nevada – Lockpicking kits, 3D scanning and printing, and Arduino prototyping are available to all in UN-Renoʼs science and engineering library.
San Francisco, California – A diverse space founded in 2007 that hosts a monthly series of lightning talks, called “Five Minutes of Fame,” where members give lectures on a wide variety of topics.
San Francisco, California – A makerspace for women, in a comfortable, welcoming, and
Riverside, California – All the right stuff, plus a commitment to bring industrial arts education back to schools.
Oakland, California– A giant laser, tools galore, and lots of LED signs are tucked away in this warehouse, which includes programs for kids.
San Francisco, California – Pier 9 belongs to Autodesk, and the company spared no expense building the ultimate makerspace. It has every tool a maker could want, but itʼs open only to Autodesk employees and artists in residence.