With a focus on creating and repairing rather than buying new things, “makerspace” communities have been appearing around the world. Each makerspace offers different resources, depending on funding, tools (often donated), and expertise among members, but all share enthusiasm. Local makerspaces, including non-profit Fort Collins Creator Hub, help people learn, design, create, repair things and share their ideas.
Steve Undy, president and co-founder of Fort Collins Creator Hub (FCCH), fondly recalls their first meeting: “We had our start as a Meetup get-together on May 25, 2014, with the purpose of seeing if there was any interest in starting up a makerspace in Fort Collins. We had an overflow crowd at that very first meeting.”
FCCH offered its first class in the summer of 2014, leased its first location in the spring of 2015, and soon thereafter, was granted its non-profit 501(c)(3) designation. An offer for a more desirable location was accepted, and in 2015, FCCH moved to its current location on Duff Drive, off Link Lane. FCCH has always been funded entirely by founders, members, and donations. Everybody involved is a volunteer. There is no paid staff.
Recently, FCCH has added space into two more units at that same location, which allowed for a dust-free area for sensitive electronics, as well as a classroom area. Education has always been a focus of the organization, as with all makerspaces.
Membership is not required for classes and workshops. There is an enrollment fee to participate in these offerings, but all are open to the public, and to people of all ages, although the workshops are focused for younger folks. Asked about other children’s organizations, Undy says, “We haven’t had 4H kids here, but the Cub Scouts have been here a couple of times to work on projects.”
Some 3D printing and programming names that your children might be familiar with include OpenSCAD, TinkerCad, Sketchup, and Raspberry Pi, as classes in these may be offered in their schools’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. These are some of the same technologies taught in classes offered at FCCH, which also teaches basic tool use, electronics, and soldering, which may no longer be offered in schools.
Membership includes access to the facility and use of the equipment, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to work on whatever project has piqued a member’s interest. FCCH will also help with expertise in a given field, or try to put members together whose areas of experience might help one another.
The layout of the facility can change, depending on popular projects at any given time. “The biggest interests lately have been in woodworking, 3D printing, laser cutting, metalworking and welding,” remarks Undy. “We try to accommodate these passions as best we can.”
In addition to designing and building things, members can bring in items in need of repair. They can make use of tools they might not have at home, as well as get advice from others who have done similar repairs. As a community organization, everybody helps everybody, as best they can.
Fort Collins Creator Hub will be “throwing the doors open” and welcoming one and all for their annual open house this month. Stop in and visit them at 1304 Duff Drive, Unit 15, in Fort Collins, on June 16, noon to 5 p.m. As well as showing space, tools and knowledge they have to offer, members will have some of their favorite projects on display and for demonstration.
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