So, as it turns out, there is a group of excellent and awesome individuals meeting every Wednesday and Saturday at the Downtown Urbana Independent Media Center (IMC) for their “Makerspace Open Hours." And there are summer workshops being offered. What exactly goes down at Makerspace Urbana? Last week, Bridget hung out with the folks at Makerspace to investigate just this.
Located in the Urbana IMC, the Makerspace Urbana workshop can be found by entering in the back door of the IMC (those of you familiar with The Bike Project, it’s their door), taking the first left and on down to the end of the hallway.
When I walked in, the group of about 10-15 people had some nice Pandora tunes going, and were all either quietly working on their projects, or just hanging out with their friends.
Makerspace Urbana has two (yes, TWO) 3D printers. And these things are so incredibly cool. One member was using a prototype template he got for free from thingiverse.com to construct a small plastic pencil holder that, get this, is intended to keep your fingers from smooshing against the pencil.thingiverse.com has 3D printing templates for literally anything you can think of, including brail rubix cubes to robotics gear, ear bud holders, and even kitchen utensils.
Sitting along the construction table were other 3D printed artifacts, like this little bunny.
As you can see, the bunny isn't the extent of it.
Aside from Makerspace’s open hours every Wednesday (7 -9 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m.), Makerspace will be hosting a series of workshops called Summer Make-a-Tion. The first of these workshops was on soldering, and hosted just this past week in Makerspace Urbana.
Gergana Slavova, a Makerspace member and coordinator, said they plan to have the Summer Make-a-Tion workshops bi-weekly, with a different skill featured at each (you can find more information about the Make-a-tion workshops on their website).
Further, she informed me of an open-to-the-public MakerFest being hosted by Makerspace Urbana in Lincoln Square Mall on October 3rd. The whole mall was rented out by Makerspace for this event, and makers from around the area will setup tables and exhibits showing the community their recent maker projects. The tables and exhibits will be a variety of different projects and groups and the event is intended to showcase neat makers’ work, and to allow makers in the area to network. “In the past," Slavova said, “we had some makers bring huge casts of dinosaur bones!”
If you are the type of person that comes home from work and crochets a blanket, then you, my friend, are a maker. I was consistenly amazed with the work going on in the workshop, and plan to bring my faithful sewing machine, Betsy, to the next open hours, along with the Arduino I purchased from Amazon.com after witnessing the splendor that is the LED pride flag (see above). Makerspace Urbana is open to anyone. A small monthly fee of $25 is encouraged for equipment, operation, and maintenance.
Photos courtesy of Bridget Curren.