A couple of weeks ago, we took an afternoon field trip to “The Manufactory” a makerspace here in the Cincinnati area. Back in June we visited two makerspaces in Columbus (read about that visit here) in preparation for an article in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. If you’re not familiar with the term, a makerspace is a lot like a health club, but with a fully equipped woodworking shop in place of the treadmills and elliptical trainers, and a machine shop where the weight machines are.
The Manufactory is 17,000 square feet of equipment needed to make just about anything. It is divided into discrete areas dedicated to woodworking, machining metal, cutting and welding metal, 3D printing and laser engraving, a bench room, lounge and more. When you join, you need to take “safe use” classes for the types of equipment you want to use. With the classes complete, you can purchase shop time on a daily, recurring monthly or yearly basis. Fees are reasonable, and there are discounts for family members, students and active military personnel. Detailed membership information is available at The Manufactory Website.
The upcoming article will present a detailed look at community workshops, be they makerspaces or wood shops that are operated by local woodworking clubs. We think this is an idea whose time has come, and we’d like to make it easy for our readers to find an available space in their area, or to spread the word about their friendly neighborhood makerspace. To that end, we are creating an online directory of Woodworking Clubs/Makerspaces. That page will appear in a little while, but you can fill out a form to let us know about what is available in your town. We also have an online directory of woodworking schools in the works, and that will appear as soon as our fact-checking managing editor makes it through the last of the list.
Our thanks to Lee and everyone at The Manufactory for giving us the deluxe tour, answering our questions and letting us see things in operation. It’s a setup that feels like a home away from home. If you’re in (or near) the Cincinnati are it’s worth a visit.