Founded in early 2013, the Northeast Minneapolis makerspace, Nordeast Makers, operates as a membership-based wood shop. For a monthly fee of $200, members gain 24/7 access to a full suite of manufacturing equipment and one-on-one training with shop professionals.
"Makerspaces are like gyms for makers," the shop team says. "Instead of paying a membership fee for access to expensive fitness equipment, we provide access to manufacturing equipment. With our equipment, makers are able to design and build stuff that wouldn’t be possible with resources available to individuals working alone."
The equipment includes a custom-built, Kronos 50″ x 102″ CNC router, a Delta-X Unisaw, liquid-cooled G.Weike laser cutter and etcher, a CNC mill, multiple high-resolution 3D printers including a Makerbot Replicator 2 and a full wood shop with Delta bandsaws and drill presses.
Team member Tyler Cooper says the shop is growing steadily. Nordeast Makers recently moved into a new, 2,500-square foot facility and is gaining 1-2 new members each month.
The shop has approximately 25 members, ranging from full-time cabinetmakers to hobbyists.
"We've got a few cabinetmakers getting into CNC," Cooper says. "Many of them are finding there's a lot to learn in designing furniture for CNC. The ability to prototype before sending designs to a production shop is huge."
In addition to 24/7 machine access and storage for projects and building materials, members can take advantage of training from the shop team and feedback from the local woodworking community.
"The most important aspect of Nordeast Makers is the community," they say. "We have a wide variety of knowledgable members who are more than happy to share and help each other become better makers."
They say the free training is mutually beneficial for members and the shop itself.
"Having knowledgable members ensures our equipment is always in good working condition."
Moving forward, Nordeast Makers plans to grow while maintainging a sustainable model, ensuring that shop members work together to keep the space clean, making machines accessible to all members, and maintaining transparency with members.
Cooper says the shop also plans to double CNC and laser-cutting capabilities. The machines, he says, are by far, the most used.
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