The Makerspace Chasm

Maker News
The Makerspace Chasm
Wood Shop
Your classic wood shop … on steroids, at Artisans Asylum.

Ever notice how most makerspaces less than 4,000 square foot are powered by volunteers and are rich with community? Ever notice that larger makerspaces tend to have more than 12,000 square foot, are powered by paid staff and are relatively slim on community? At How to Make a Makerspace this gap was characterized as the makerspace chasm.

As Gui Cavalcanti said during class, “There’s a reason that there’s such a specific divide between small spaces and large spaces. Once you get much larger than 3,000 – 4,000 square feet, the space becomes incredibly difficult to manage with only volunteers. Spaces that aren’t large enough, however, can’t pay staff.”

This workshop, taught by Gui , has been maturing over three iterations. While it started out as a workshop based on the phenomenal success of Artisans Asylum it has grown to include the experiences from many other makerspaces. The realization of the makerspace chasm is just one insight that surfaced.  Another includes the most common makerspace styles he’d seen, including:

  • Small teaching-only spaces (1-10 people)
  • Small, volunteer-run communities (10-80 people)
  • Shared workspace where everyone usually had their own tools
  • Large community workshop
  • Large business development facility intended to rent space to startup businesses

If you want to take this eight hour workshop then stay tuned. The last two offerings have been in conjunction with Maker Fair, usually the Friday before. If you can’t wait then here’s a small taste of what you can expect. Making a makerspace isn’t easy. The process is riddled with land mines. Gaining the insights from this class can help you avoid stepping on them.

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Speaker. Maker. Writer. Traveler. Father. Husband.

MakerCon Co-Chair ( Maker City San Diego Roundtable Member San Diego Maker Faire Producer (

View more articles by Travis Good