Most things that involve computers are solo efforts. Letter. Programming. Construction electronics projects. It’s not unheard of for creative geeks to lock themselves up for a few days, isolate themselves from the world, and crack their designs.
But the problem is that it’s not particularly great.
Humans are social animals that crave interaction and approval. They are joint animals. That’s why countless developers, digital artists, manufacturers and engineers have launched «makerspaces».
What is makerspace?
Some even offer «hotdesking» where freelancers and remote workers can informally hire a desk for a short period of time. This accessibility and lack of commitment has resulted in thousands of startups being born at Makerspaces.
There are many reasons why someone might want to open their own creative space. From building the foundation of a community of creators to building new connections and acquaintances.
But it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Dedicating your own production space can be done cheaply, without any equipment compromises. Here is a shopping list for those hoping to create their own creative space on a budget.
The driving force behind this process is the 3D printer, which, once new and incredibly expensive, has become available. They work by taking a flexible strand of polymer and melting it until it is sufficiently viscous. The machine then regurgitates it layer by layer until it resembles the shape of your design. That’s all.
3D printers are essential for any manufacturer. But choosing the right 3D printer for you can be confusing.
There are many 3D printers to choose from. The cheapest one is probably the Peachy Printer, which only costs $100. For one Benjamin Franklin you get a quiet, customizable printer based entirely on free and open source software. However, some assembly is required and it is still in pre-order — new orders are expected to go on sale in October 2015.
The next step on the path to excellence and quality is the XYZPrinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D printer, which costs only $500 and offers convenient and secure printing with the ability to print larger objects.
Some 3D printers cost thousands of dollars, like the Makerbot Replicator 2. So when you spend more money, what do you get in return? In short: higher resolution prints, vastly improved quality — with some 3D printers capable of in-store production.
Ultimately, it’s about what your budget can handle.
But what if you don’t want to just work with plastic?
Laser cutters work on a principle similar to 3D printers. You give them a computer circuit and they start building it. But instead of applying layer after layer of hot melted polymer, it instead uses a high-intensity gas laser to cut paper, cardboard and wood or engrave.
There are many examples of people using laser cutters to create beautiful physical products. A great example of this is the Arduino-based WhereDial system, which was built at the DoES Liverpool manufacturing site from laser-cut plywood and plexiglass.