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Maker Spaces: Are they as cool as they sound?
The maker movement is upon us. Chris Anderson's MAKER book points to a new future where manufacturing leaves the factory and enters basements. The headliner tool is the 3D printer, but what are the real capabilities available to non-engineer types today, and how are maker spaces changing our limitations?
Three representatives from three very different maker organizations (Tech Shop Detroit, Kendall College and GR Makers group) unpack new forms of making and the importance of maker spaces.
The Maker Panel
Kendall College of Art and Design of FSU
Professor, Metals/Jewelry and Industrial Design
Professor Renato came to Grand Rapids in 2002 to chair the newly founded Allesee Metals/Jewelry Design program at Kendall. He has lectured on his work and the use of CAD/CAM in art and design at dozens of universities and conferences across the country and as far away as England, Portugal, China, and Dubai. Since 2003 he has coordinated digital fabrication/3D scanning and printing technologies at Kendall; most recently through their interdisciplinary FlexLab project.
Manager, TechShop Detroit
Will is a Metro Detroit native and grew up the sort of kid that made regular rounds of the neighborhood on trash day looking for that big cardboard water heater or refrigerator box that could become a submarine, Apollo space capsule or WWII bomber. His first true invention, in fact, was made of the cardboard from a worn out "lunar lander". It was called the Tractor Tread and was an infinite loop of the stuff, connected end to end with Duct Tape and crinkled and wrinkled into a flexible band. The operator crawled inside and was able, to the amazement of kids up and down the block, to traverse and scale all manner of terrain and obstacle (including other kids!). He was just beaten to market, one week later, by the "as seen on TV" foam rubber version. From those early days forward Will's drive has been to combine his love for play and creativity with his fascination for mechanisms and making things. TechShop, an inventor's playground, is a realization of this aspiration writ large as life!
Samuel Bowles, GRMakers
Samuel Mikel Bowles is Vice President of Mutually Human a software design and development studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mutually Human has recently launched a new investment group called Human Ventures and joined forces with local Meetup group, GR Makers, to kickstart a new maker space at the corner of 131 and Hall.