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local makerspaceA 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.

local makerspace

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.

Submit your local woodworking club/makerspace to our list by clicking here.

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.

 –– Robert W. Lang


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Showing 3 comments
  • johnmoran

    AeroClassics – that’s the price you pay for living on that side of the Pond.

    Over here we call the same set-up ‘Men’s Sheds’ and, being more reasonable, we (Europe) have worked out simple contracts that puts the responsibility squarely in the hands of the people taking part. There are rules and training sessions and then they take responsibility for their own well-being – as it should be in any reasonable society.

    It all started in Australia, where there are now over 1,000 Men’s Sheds

    It’s been running in the UK for years and works well.

    If you guys can fight off your rapacious lawyers, maybe you can enjoy similar benefits – good luck

    Regards – John

  • AeroClassics

    Robert, wow! I can hear the slip and fall lawyers salivating! In our society where the motto seems to be “better living through litigation” this is a dream! We have folks come by Woodcraft once in a while looking for a place where they can rent shop time. As far as I know, there is no place in the DFW area where one can rent shop time. I like the idea, personally. When I was in the Navy they often provided such places, wood shops or mechanics bays for working on ones’ car. But they are gone now. I have discussed the idea with various folks and everyone loves the idea they are just concerned about the liability.

    I will watch how they go and see if they grow.

    Thanks for the tidbit I am looking forward to the article!



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