The makespace that was once interviewed by Will and Norm has closed doors in USA. Adam himself attended the opening of TechShop San Francisco.
Any thoughts on this? TechShop St Louis and I think San Jose are in works to reboot their respective TechShops under new names and new management. The big challenge is making Making work as a commercial model. How to fairly bill the hobbyist maker vs. a business laser cutting 500 napkin rings. I was in the St Louis TechShop and when it closed the local businesses and maker community really busted heads to fix it.
There are lots of unanswered questions on making a for-profit, commercially viable MakeSpace. I would love to hear what Adam has to say about this.
The maker community in STL really opened up to those affected by the closure, offering use of their spaces til things get figured out. I think for-profit makerspaces might start turning a profit if they start targeting educational institutions. A lot of schools (especially in STL) can't afford the costs of running and maintaining several 3D printers and laser cutters. Giving memberships through the school districts could help young makers get more involved with the community at large and spark an interest in further STEAM fields.
It is a tough business model, and honestly maybe Techshop tried to expand faster than they had coverage for? They did a hell of a lot of good while they ran though, with their educational and especially their veteran outreach.
I was a member of the SF location for something like three years, learned so much while working there, and their tools and classes took me a dozen levels onward as a maker. I'll always cherish the experience of waiting alongside half a dozen other people holding their mats waiting for the place to open a cold december morning when the deadlines are closing in. And the time I milled a so called 'fuckton' of red cedar and what felt like everyone in the whole building popped by just to let me know how wonderful the smell of the wood was!
When I think back on my years living in that city, Techshop plays a big part, it felt like my home shop!
It is where I learned (amongst many other things) how to run a massive woodcutting CNC mill and a smaller metal one, do laser and waterjet cutting, use a full-size table saw, a router table, a CNC embroiderer, cast resin in a silicone mould, run a cut-plotter, get a nice powdercoat on steel or aluminium and why they are very different, roll a bead on steel sheet (like in the recent Terry English vids), use a sheet bender or use a planer and a jointer.
So, commercially viable business model or not, my experience working with them was exclusively positive, and if any of the SF Techshop people read this, thanks for the help!