In an effort to win the “going the distance” award for makerspace tourism, I swung by open house night in ANCHORAGE ALASKA this evening to check out their makerspace! I spent time with their president Andreas, had a great tour and got some ideas. He was happy to spend a lot of time with me and super nice, I talked to several other members who were hanging out, they all remind me of us
Space is separated into two sections - dust and non-dust! The dust side has the woodshop, welding machines, heavy stuff. Both halves have an open section and a two-story split section, sort of like a loft. In the woodshop half the loft upstairs is closed off to a rentable office/coworking kind of area. The other side’s loft is open with computers for gaming, they’ve had some neat virtual reality stuff setup and had some popular programs where people could experience VR for the first time. Front area is set up cafe style, for a cool coffee shop vibe. Under that loft is a laser cutter in its own room so it doesn’t make the coworking space noisy.
Andrea’s son is a rambunctious creative little maker who gets the run of the place, he proudly told me with a grin that he is president of the “Maker Kids” club, in charge of making sure all other kids follow the rules! He was mashing computer parts together or something, totally had a plan, awesome kid.
bio lab/hydroponic system in the early planning stations
a hackathon for ideas to re-use/reclaim fishing nets that wash up on Alaska beaches
They built a plastics shredder that reminded me a lot of Joel’s, but right next to it a manual injection molding machine
A member was there splicing together nerf guns, it looked like something one of us would do!
Lots of cosplay enthusiasts - Anchorage has an oddly giant comicon every spring
“make a spaceship” little kid parties where they throw small children at a pile of cardboard, the kids mark on it where they want cut and parents become the CNC machines armed with box cutters. It’s a blast and the results are hysterical.
Reclaimed a lot of space by getting rid of member storage, they had a cubby system but storage was being used by not in-work projects more than in-work projects and they needed the space.
Good at incubating entrepenuers. Their CAD workgroup is on break because the people who joined to learn CAD got design jobs!
They were originally going to be an aerospace-focused makerspace. Andreas said they’ve expanded their focus and that’s okay, his advice is to let your makerspace become what it is, celebrate it and don’t try to keep it in a box or try to steer it too hard. Let it happen! <3
About 40-50 members, membership is $100 per family so once you are in, your spouse is too. New members have a 30 day probation period before they get an entry code. During this time they have to attend at least one business/planning/committee meeting to better learn what it takes to run the space and jump in to getting involved (I LIKE THIS IDEA).
Pics or it didn’t happen!