Central Oregon Innovation Mill

We're building a makerspace! Read on to learn more about what this means, but more than anything...

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The Central Oregon Makers are creating the Innovation Mill, a community collective that provides tools, machinery, workspaces and training for inventors and innovators of all stripes.

The Innovation Mill will fill the following needs within our community:

  • Provide access to space and equipment that are prohibitively expensive to operate and maintain
  • Establish a rallying point for an otherwise fragmented and poorly connected community of "makers"
  • Offer training and mentorship that are not otherwise available
  • Provide alternative R&D development options for local businesses
  • Lay a foundation of creativity and entrepreneurship that will lead to a more robust local workforce and economy

The Innovation Mill is only superficially about enabling the creation of things. The deeper mission is to create community. It is our mission that the Mill become part of, and help facilitate, a coherent Central Oregon creative brain trust that includes academic, business, government and grassroots communities. This combined community will be essential to acheiving a new level of entrepreneurial viability for our region.

The Innovation Mill is still in the planning phase. At a minimum it will provide metal-working equipment (e.g. lathes, mills, welding gear), wood-working equipment (e.g. table/band saws, lathes), and rapid-prototyping facilities (e.g. laser cutters, 3d-printers, vacuum-forming). There will also be shared and individual workspaces available, as well as classroom space with courses based on community-driven supply and demand.

The Innovation Mill is not intended to be a competitor to existing businesses or academic institutions. Where COCC's focus is on career development and workforce training, the Mill will be a resource for people that have specific ideas and projects they want to develop. Similarly, where local manufacturing or fabrication businesses are focused on providing production-quality services to other businesses, the Mill's focus will be on serving maker/enthusiasts who seek the knowledge and fulfillment that comes from creating things first-hand.

Membership in the Innovation Mill is open to everyone, however the primary audience will be people who self-identify as "makers". I.e. people with a chronic passion for building things. This includes students and retirees, tinkerers and professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and craftsmen. I.e. anyone who has an idea for something to build, but who lacks a criticial resource - equipment, space, or training - to make it happen.

Funding for the Innovation Mill will come from multiple sources:

  • Membership fees
  • Workspace rental
  • Class fees
  • Individual and corporate donations
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Government grants and economic development programs

The team behind the Innovation Mill is a cross section of our community:

  • [To be named]

The Innovation Mill will foster a community of passionate "makers", people who enjoy the process of creating new and novel things, of nurturing their intellectual curiousity by learning new skills and, most importantly, apply those new skills. As this community thrives, it will benefit our broader community in numerous ways:

  • Increased publicity for Central Oregon as viable region for business and education.
  • More successful entrepreneurs creating new local businesses and income
  • Increased demand for continuuing education
  • Tangible proof that our community can bootstrap itself in creative ways (and, thus, justify the injection of State and Federal funding for economic development.)

To get "doors open" on the Innovation Mill we need the following:

  • Funding (~$100K-250K?)
  • Space (2-10K sq-ft?)
  • Equipment (purchase and maintenance)
  • Staffing (volunteer?) for construction, operations, legal, financial, and training

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Things I've learned maker spaces and factories May 30, 2013 10:07 PM Charlie D.
A Place For Our Space May 14, 2013 8:48 PM Michael A.
Central Oregon Innovation Mill May 13, 2013 1:37 PM Robert K.
Executive Summary Brainstorm Notes May 2, 2013 9:02 PM Robert K.
About Central Oregon Makers May 2, 2013 2:28 PM Robert K.

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