Advanced PCB Making for the People

CNC & Machining Technology Workshop
Advanced PCB Making for the People

IMG_6049Matt Westervelt grew up in a PCB factory.  Or almost.  His father founded Westak in Sunnyvale, CA in the 70s, and Matt knows intimately the nasty chemicals involved in printed circuit board manufacturing.

Many years later Matt is five years into his own venture, Metrix Create Space in Seattle. Metrix is a retail hackerspace with 3D fabrication services, community gatherings and workshops (e.g. Circuit Church on Sundays), a range of textile machines, and an electronics parts supply store. Oh, and a very active coffee pot.

Metrix also offers an Advanced Circuits Lab for faster PCB prototyping than available anywhere in any retail environment anywhere. An LPKF Protolaser S (in concert with operator Matt) makes circuit boards, even multi-layer and flexible boards, incredibly fast and without the toxic chemicals Matt grew up with. There are only tens of these machines in the U.S. (DARPA and the U.S. Navy own some) but the Metrix’s LPKF is the only such machine available in the world to the general public. Talk about democratization of technology!

IMG_6045Metrix was also one of the first sponsors of this weekend’s Seattle’s Mini Maker Faire (the reason I’m in town—stay tuned for show coverage!).  It’s clearly ground zero for a whole community of makers.  Super fun to watch customers stream in, showing up for their 3Dprinter night or looking for a few parts.

Here’s a few more pix from my stop in:

Possibly the awesomest vending machine ever—parts, animal crackers, and candy. And a poster for the Seattle Mini Maker Faire.
Metrix staff robot operator Lauren and their two lasercutters.
Johann Rocholl of OpenBeam calls Metrix “home”.

Congrats to Matt and the Metrix Create Space team for pushing the makerspace model envelope to a whole new level.

P.S. See you at Seattle Mini Maker Faire at the Experience Music Project this weekend!

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Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire's global licensing program for locally and independently produced Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.

View more articles by Sabrina Merlo


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