Statement of Intent
The MakerBar is a tight-knit community of hobbyists and makers in Hoboken. We're on a mission to establish a shared space for the creation of innovative technology and the dissemination of skills and knowledge.
The MakerBar will be a makerspace, a nonprofit community center and workshop geared towards the recreational modification and creation of technology.
By transforming a warehouse space into a gathering ground for like-minded hobbyists, the MakerBar connects people for collaboration and skill-sharing and provides them with workspaces and tools. Workshops, open houses, expositions, and other events will enrich Hoboken by spreading knowledge, building relationships between residents, and attracting visitors to an exciting destination.
The space and much of its contents will be financed by members' monthly dues, proceeds from classes and workshops, rental fees from temporary users, and donations. The MakerBar is currently in the process of incorporation, will launch once a critical mass of dues-paying members is reached, and will be applying for 501(c)(3) status upon incorporation. The group plans to launch the space using approximately $10,000 in capital reserves net negligible startup costs, incur approximately $1,000 per month in recurring expenses, and bring approximately $1,500 per month in revenues.
The primary objective of the MakerBar is to establish and maintain a makerspace. Our plans are to locate a suitable space of approximately 1,250 square feet zoned for light industrial use. A detailed conceptual floor plan is available here. All measurements are estimated.
- Machine Shop - 250sqft - Workbench with band saw, drill press, laser cutter, 3-D printer, CNC router, etc, as well as materials and maintenance needs, for use by trained and qualified members.
- Work Area - 400sqft - Fixed, heavy work tables and stools for approximately 20 people to work concurrently. The focal point of the makerspace.
- Storage Area - 100sqft - Floor-to-ceiling storage cubbies and toolchests for shared hand tools, supplies of common parts, and storage for members' works-in-progress.
- Classroom - 130sqft - Open space with foldable seating for approximately 20 people. This space enables classes and workshops without disrupting members at the work area, and can be cleared when not in use.
- Lounge/Library - 200sqft - Comfortable seating for breaks between projects and discussions as well as meetings. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves hold reference books, project notes, small components and works-in-progress, and other odds and ends.
- Kitchen - 150sqft - Microwave and refrigerator for snacks, sink for cleanup, vending machine for parts. The kitchen creates flexibility, encourages members to stay longer, and provides a place to unwind.
To Date: Hosted open Craft Nights with the help of Mission 50, recruited members, committed founding dues, investigated potential locations, codified mission and organizational rules
April 2012: Host first workshops at Mission 50, incorporation, elect board members, recruit ten committed monthly members; Earth Day publicity event
May 2012: Sign and move into space; outfit with furniture and fixtures; inaugural workshops, open houses, and hack nights
June-August 2012: Expand membership to 15, HOPE conference, finish renovation, begin acquiring equipment
September 2012: Maker Faire conference, fundraising for capital expansion of space and tools
The following fictional stories are illustrative of the situations that give need for makerspaces like the MakerBar.
- Ted programs a cutting-edge iPhone app in his free time. While he's perfectly fine coding by himself in cafes and his condo, he feels isolated and wishes he could work alongside some friends.
- Jackson loves soldering together electronics, but he can't write code and his project has stalled as he tries to find a programmer.
- Julia thinks robots are cool and wishes she could build one, but hates having to learn everything alone from the Internet.
- Stephen does woodworking and sculpts in his free time, but his landlord keeps complaining about the noise and mess. He's also running out of space to work on his creations as he starts to settle down.
- Natalia has had an idea for a new product in her head for months but doesn't have the tools to make it. She wishes she could rent a fully-stocked shop for the week to build her prototype.
There are countless similar stories in Hoboken, and the MakerBar can enable people like this to innovate.
Workshops and Classes
Apart from providing shared space for members, the MakerBar is a venue for skill-sharing and education. Workshops and classes, taught by MakerBar members and visiting experts, expand participants' abilities, provide revenue for the MakerBar and its members' projects, and attract new blood to the space. Many people want to get started with DIY projects but have difficulty gaining the skills and finding help. Instructor-led classes remove some of the pressure and allow enthusiasts to create awesome projects right away. Classes in our pipeline include:
- Intro to Arduino - This class teaches participants the basics of using an Arduino prototyping board, and is a great first step to learning electronics and programming.
- How to Solder - Connecting circuit components is surprisingly difficult; this class shows how to safely make electronics that last - and avoid accidental frying.
- Python for Dummies - Python is a powerful, versatile, and simple programming language with a huge variety of applications. This class teaches laymen the foundation of flexible and fun coding.