Folks have been asking me what I think it takes to make a Makerspace.
The short answer is people. The right person can make a space successful for very little money. Conversely, a lot of money can go to waste on equipment if the wrong person is running the show. I think the person needs to be have “EdTech” type humanizing technology skills and the ability to use social media and media production to constantly market, document and publicize activities in the space. More support for the people aspect of Makerspaces is here: MIT FabLab Foundation, scroll down.
In terms of equipment, here’s my rough thoughts below, as of the publish date only. Check with me if it’s after that, things are moving fast in Makerland!
No Budget (It’s the people stupid!)
- A champion who’s job it is to champion the space, as a volunteer, or as part of their existing job.
- Check out the book Invent to Learn from the library.
- From the recycling bins: Cardboard, cups, bottles, etc. (Wash them!)
- Donated stuff: old toys, glue guns, duct tape, office supplies, old electronics, bike parts, scrap wood, kitchen supplies, (often from soliciting parents, community, and business donors – you’d be shocked at how much stuff arrives if folks know kids will be using it at school!)
- Space: With windows that open. An empty closet, garage, tent, shed, or make it mobile with donated bins
- Furniture: Folding tables and old chairs or stools. They will take a beating!
$5000 to $10,000
(Prices assume 10-20% education discounts on sites, just ask and use your teacher work email).
- At least a paid part time champion (existing teacher, new hired, staffer, etc)
- All the above plus more kits, tools and supplies.
- A sustained yearly supplies budget of about $3000.00 to $5000.00
- At least one dedicated fast Mac or PC and projector ($2500 or in a classroom already)
- Student access to modern Web browser tools.
- 3D Printer and supplies. 1 Afinia H480 ($1500), or 2 PrintrBot Metal Simples ($1500)
- Vinyl Cutter and supplies. US Cutter ($500)
- 8th? grade and up. All with good curriculum and support. My favorite for STEAM skills. Adruino.cc starter kits ($100ea). For more STEM skills, Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit ($80). For more choices on configurations, Adafruit kits.
- <6th? grade MakeMakey kits ($39ea) or Littlebits (expensive).
- Sparkfun ProtoSnap E-Textiles Starter Kit ($24 each)
- Sewing Machine (~$150)
- Multimeter (~$30)
- A few key tools (~$200)
- Extra electronics (~$200)
- New glue guns, tape, wire, string, tinfoil, office supplies, etc (~$300)
- Existing or inexpensive folding tables and chairs, or stools and benches, a fan, lights. (~$600)
$10,000 to $50,000
- Fulltime champion
- All of the above, plus more kits, tools and supplies.
- Out of my depth here, but I’m guessing a roughly 20% of initial budget for yearly supplies and IT (Spend $50K, need 10K year).
- All of the above
- Laser Cutter. Full Spectrum Laser cutter ($4000). Or Epilog Zing 30w Laser ($9000)
- CNC rig? Or more electronics? Or more wearables?
- Great furniture and lighting, natural hopefully, ($Lots)
- Surfing the Web
- Google searching
- Shop safety
- Documenting skills and habits. Finding files and organizing them, and doing a little every day (videos, photos, screenshots, writing summaries and notes with resources used and links. Exploring problems, surprises, solutions)
Some Software Thoughts (Thanks Jaymes Dec)
A computer that has, or can install and use:
- A cloud account (Google, Dropbox, MS, Apple) for storing and moving files and documentation that isn’t on one computer.
- A camera (webcam, tablet, phone, point and shoot, etc.)
- Arduino software
- Scratch.com and offline editor.
- Inkscape (requires Apple’s X11/Xquartz 2.3.4 or higher): http://www.inkscape.org/en/download/
- 123D Catch, Circuits, Make, Design, Sculpt, Meshmixer Find all at: http://www.123dapp.com/create
- Fritzing: http://fritzing.org/download/
- Gimp: http://www.gimp.org/downloads/
- OpenSCAD: http://www.openscad.org/downloads.html
- SketchUp Make: http://www.sketchup.com/products/sketchup-make
- MakerWare (includes MakerWare for Digitizer): http://www.makerbot.com/makerware/
- Sense 3D scanning Software:http://cubify.com/en/Products/Sense
- Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/
- TurtleArt: Contact Brian Silverman and Artemis Papert for this download link. Amici: http://dimeb.informatik.uni-bremen.de/eduwear/tag/amici/
- Soundplant: http://soundplant.org/download.htm
- Modkit: http://www.modk.it/download
- Ardublock: http://blog.ardublock.com/engetting-started-ardublockzhardublock/