If you’re thinking of founding your own makerspace, it might seem like such a vast undertaking that you get discouraged before you even start. If you’re in need of some inspiration, take a look at Schantz Makerspace.
In the fall of 2015, Victor Schantz attended the Innovation Summit at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met and spoke with Make: CEO Dale Dougherty. Schantz, who runs a musical instrument manufacturing facility, wanted to transform part of the space into a community makerspace. Doughtery encouraged him, and two years later, Schantz writes to us with this update:
Two years later our community space holds Maker Monday meetings the third Monday of every month. We get 30-40 people at every meeting. The group tells us what they want to learn and we design classes for them.
We have offered classes in basic Arduino training using kits. We have offered Arduino sketch programming, Fusion 360 training classes, Easel software training classes, and even drone flying. We have had 8 group build classes in the past twelve months in which we use Saturday morning work sessions to build the OX CNC table top router from a kit. We also build the TEVO Tarantula 3D printer from a kit. We have built about 60 of these machines so far, and people now have them in their homes turning out all sorts of products.
Our January class to build a third round of 3D printers from kits is already sold out. We have grandfathers and grandsons, students, retirees, men, and women coming together to build these machines. Our volunteers from earlier classes come to help the newcomers.
It is fun to see this. We started by building a community of folks who were interested in learning, and things have just taken off.
We collaborated with the local community college and the Make: organization to create the first ever Maker Faire in Wayne County. We held it last May with 73 exhibitors and 1300 attendees. The college has agreed to host it again in 2018.
We have created a Christmas Crafts for Kids event that will take place December 9, 2017. Our volunteers are busy making 3D printed snowmen, CNC router cut outs of Christmas trees and snowmen, and tree ornaments that the children will decorate and paint at our event. We figured we could handle 150 children in three one-hour groups, 50 at a time. We posted a registration page on the internet two days ago. We already have 100 children registered. We want to reach young people and spark their interest. This is one activity, and we are working with the libraries and schools to do more.
We want to involve high school and college students in our group build classes to learn the new technology. We want people of all ages to collaborate, learn, share, and make. We are seeing that happen in front of our eyes.
We collaborate with Wayne College to post a blog which is very popular.
We have a growing listserv email group of folks who talk to each other, share information, and solve problems together.
We have decided to seek 501 C-3 status. We registered with the state of Ohio and submitted an application to the IRS. I had a call from the IRS indicating that our application looked good and they were recommending approval. So we are excited and plan to seek some foundation grant funding. The demand for more classes and activities is very real. Our volunteer group is strong and enthusiastic. We plan to keep growing the group with classes driven by what the group wants to learn.
Next Tuesday our committee is building a prototype Christmas light display using Arduino and X-lights software to make outdoor design pieces using Coroplast board. Once we build the prototype we can create a parts list for a kit of materials and then offer a group build class. People are excited about it. The maker movement is alive and well in our little community.