Lowell Makes to create professional community wood shop
Community workshop provides a space for woodworking, 3D printing, electronics and other trades and crafts.
With support from the surrounding communities, they launched Lowell Makes last November. Lowell Makes is a multi-faceted nonprofit workshop based in Lowell, Mass – the birthplace of the American industrial revolution, and once textile capital of the world.
Jain, Noto and Sack call it a “makerspace,” which is essentially a facility that combines tools, community and education. The goal is to enable community members to design, create and learn about both new and exciting technologies, as well we traditional techniques.
“We not only provide tools and equipment but a base of expertise, people you can ask questions of and collaborate with,” explains Jain.
From the very start, there was a significant interest in woodworking. Local residents and businesses donated woodworking equipment and tools, and members of Lowell Makes couldn’t wait to put them to good use.
“Woodworkers have been enjoying use of the space to do work they cannot do in their homes due to noise or space challenges,” Jain says.
There was just one problem: Sawdust and noise became a real issue for both the woodworkers and others at Lowell Makes who were working on more delicate projects. The solution is not complicated – the makerspace needs an enclosed space for woodworking – but it is costly. An estimated $15,000 is needed to do the job properly.
Once again, Lowell Makes is reaching out to the community, this time through an on-line Indiegogo campaign. Indiegogo is a San Francisco-based company that helps small businesses get off the ground through “crowdfunding.” Those interested in supporting this community workshop with a donation can access the Indiegogo page.
The work required includes putting up walls, purchasing tools and machines, installing a sawdust collection system and making changes to the ventilation and sprinkler system. The work will be performed by both professional contractors and Lowell Makes members and volunteers. but they need $15,000 for materials, additional woodworking equipment, hand tools, benches, an assembly table, a dust collection system, ventilation modifications and a sprinkler system.
“We need to build a completed and finished wood shop,” says Noto.
Depending on their contribution levels, Indiegogo supporters will receive T-shirts, hand-crafted coins, free workshops and custom electronics equipment. So far, approximately $4,500 has been raised.
“With public schools eliminating things like shop classes, and with limited access to some of this equipment even in vocational schools, the community really needs a place to learn and practice these skills,” Jain says.
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