Vocademy | The Makerspace
MAKERSPACE BANNER
MAKERSPACES ARE AMAZING
Making brings people together. Whether it’s kids in a middle school or adults in a business incubator, we are all genetically predisposed to want to create physical things and learn with our hands. Makerspaces (Aka STEM labs, Incubators, or Innovation Rooms) are becoming the natural gathering places for all makers.  By providing the tools, the space, and the instruction, makerspace are an ideal learning environment. At Vocademy, we’ve seen firsthand the positive effects of giving people access to the “tools of making” in a space dedicated for such use.
Makerspaces are becoming very popular and their benefits are widely known. But like all good ideas, it’s the execution of those ideas that determines their success. From a small room with some tables and hand tools, to a big facility with state-of-the-art equipment, makerspaces are where innovation is born and hands-on learning happens naturally. But they do require up-front planning and well thought out design to become successful in the long term. It’s not just the budget or the amount of room, it’s how physical resources interact with the users of the space, it’s about safety, and it’s about function.
It all starts with you – with one makerspace. You can help create makers and change lives. No matter your budget, needs, or space limitations, we can help you bring making to your school, organization, or community.

 

CREATING A MAKERSPACE IS NOT EASY:
  • Small (under 250 sqft) kids makerspaces are relatively easy, but anything larger becomes complex.
  • Makerspaces should have more than just cardboard, storage bins, and office supplies.
  • Makerspaces that involve technology, tools, and have specific goals require advanced planning.
  • Makerspaces need to be designed with specific audiences, safety, and final outcomes in mind.
  • Makerspaces contain delicate, expensive, and sometimes dangerous equipment.
  • There are hundreds of variables to consider when designing and creating a space. We can help.

 

JUST SOME OF THE CONSIDERATIONS:
  • Proper equipment selection.
  • Correct, efficient, and safe space layout.
  • Training and professional development of your staff.
  • Access to a curriculum to be able to teach others.
  • Accounting for ventilation, noise, and dust control.
  • Electrical requirements for a the equipment.
  • Correct furnishings and storage solutions.
  • Safety considerations of every area and tool.
  • Storage, inventory, and resources for supplies.
  • Access and management considerations.
  • Installation and service training.
  • and much more….

 

ONE EXAMPLE: IMPLEMENTING 3D PRINTERS
  • Which one of the hundreds of machines do you choose?
  • Is it rugged enough for your environment, proven, and easy to use?
  • Should you choose $500 or $50,000 machines?
  • Who will teach you, your staff, and/or your instructors?
  • What will you use for curriculum to teach others?
  • Where should it be located? Table, workbench, or desk?
  • Are there hazardous elements and safety concerns?
  • Who will teach you how to maintain it?
  • Does it need ventilation? Power?
  • Where do you get and store supplies?
  • Who will you go to for tech support and troubleshooting?
  • Who will install it for you, if needed?

 

VOCADEMY IS HERE TO HELP
Vocademy has the answers and is here to help you through the entire process:
961-266-6630 or  makerspaces@vocademy.com
WHAT
We are makerspace experts. We offer consulting services and training for those looking to create their own unique makerspace(s) in schools, companies, government agencies, non-profits, and in communities. Specifically, for those that want safe and effective makerspaces that range in size from 1,000 to 25,000 square feet.

 

WHY
We have been studying makerspaces for over a decade and have 30+ years in industry and education. We live in the world of makerspaces. In 2013, we opened a one-of-a-kind, world class makerspace that is widely recognized within the Maker Movement for its innovation. We use that experience to help you through every step of the process.
The benefit of involving Vocademy is that we take the guesswork out of the process, help you save money, and together, we create an amazing space, your space. We will use our years of experience, in-house developed solutions, ideal equipment partners, and provide you with all the answers you need. It’s a complex process. But we promise to guide you from the absolute beginning all the way to a completed turn-key makerspace. Together, we will do it in the most efficient and cost effective ways possible.

 

HOW
We start with a brief phone or email conversation at no cost. Then, after determining three key criteria: available space, available funding, and your desired goals, we enter into an initial consultation agreement to get the process started. From there, we work together to determine the best solution(s) for your specific space.

 

WHEN
Right now. Simply email us: makerspaces@vocademy.com
SPACE DESIGN
The look and feel of a makerspace is critical to its success. How the space is organized, the flooring, what equipment is located where, and controlling of dust/light/noise matters very much.  From 3D CAD models of the space to suggested sources, we will help every step of the way.
FURNISHINGS
Even relatively simple decisions such as types of desks, chairs, and worktables need to be considered for a makerspace environment.  We work with our clients to guide them through the best options in furnishings and storage solutions.

THE TOOLS OF MAKING
One of the main purposes of a makerspace is to give people access and exposure to tools and technologies they themselves cannot afford. These have to be the right tools, with the right instruction, and made for an environment with different many users.
Our Makerspace Modules include the right equipment, training, support tools, furnishings, and curriculum. Some Modules are available with different levels of equipment. Use and number of Modules depends on the available space, budget and intended use of the makerspace. We work with our clients to determine the best modules, where they will be located, and quantities of each.
Modules can be combined to create and teach hundreds of different skill sets.  For example, a makerspace that has both sewing and electronics modules can introduce people to wearables. Combining woodworking and laser cutting can be used to create the most amazing furniture.
MAKERSPACE MODULES
  • 3D Printing
  • 3D Scanning
  • Laser cutting
  • Machining
  • Desktop CNC
  • Industrial CNC
  • Vacuforming
  • Plastics & composites
  • Hand / Power Tools
  • Electronics / Soldering
  • Hardware Programming
  • Desktop Woodworking
  • Industrial Woodworking
  • Welding & Fabrication
  • Sewing & Textiles
  • CAD / Graphic Arts
  • 3D Papercraft / Pepakura
  • Cosplay (Costume & Propmaking)
WHO WILL TEACH IN YOUR MAKERSPACE?
We offer classes in the use of all the equipment in a makerspace.  Not WHAT to do with the tools, but HOW to use them safely and effectively. We offer these practical, hands-on classes at our facility, in small class sizes (6-10 people), using the same equipment we will suggest for your space.  Pick a subject, send us six people, and we will put on the class you want, when you want it. It’s that simple. On-site training is also available.   Some subjects have four classes, others upwards of a dozen.
WHAT CURRICULUM WILL YOU USE TO TEACH OTHERS?
We offer affordable yearly curriculum site licenses for you to use OUR curriculum to teach others. You can use the same tools, presentations, instructor guides to teach others. This is the final and critical piece of having an effective makerspace. Knowledgeable instructors, using a proven curriculum. We will also show you the many resources for projects and ideas for WHAT can be done with all these “tools of making” in a classroom or creative space.
TRAINING MODULES (available and in development)
Our training modules consist of two to twelve classes that take you from absolute beginner to having the fundamental skills in using this equipment and technology. All classes are four hours and all of them are a mixture of pracical knowledge with a lot of hands-on learning.
  • 3D Printing
  • 3D Scanning
  • Laser cutting & Engraving
  • Machining
  • Desktop CNC
  • Industrial CNC
  • Vacuforming
  • Plastics & composites
  • Hand / Power Tools
  • Electronics / Soldering
  • Hardware Programming
  • Desktop Woodworking
  • Industrial Woodworking
  • Welding & Fabrication
  • Sewing & Textiles
  • CAD / Graphic Arts
  • 3D Papercraft / Pepakura
  • Cosplay (costume & propmaking)

 

 

Makerspaces are a relatively new concept and the definitions of what they can be are still being created. Below are general definitions of current makerspace models and how Vocademy is different.

Vocademy – The Makerspace – We are the world’s first education-focused makerspace. It is the best parts of makerspaces, school shop classes, trade schools, R&D labs, and dream garages, all in one place. We have classes that can take anyone from absolute beginner, all the way to expert, and anywhere in between. You don’t have to be a member to take classes. Membership gives you access to the tools and machines which use the skills you have learned in our facility. Vocademy is open to business and educational clients 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday AND then a real makerspace every evening and weekend open to everyone! We provide the best combination of tools, equipment, instructors, access, and education. We offer hands-on skills training for kids, schools, students, organizations, and companies. Everyone is welcome in groups or as individuals and families. We are a community of makers, united by our desire to create amazing things and make people more valuable to the world.


Hackerspaces – The term “hacker” is usually seen in a negative light, but in actuality it is the desire to take apart systems and make them better. These hackerspaces were the predecessors to makerspaces and there are thousands around the world. The best way to describe hackerspaces are by the size and members. The vast majority are under 2,000 square feet, in an industrial unit or garage, and membership consists of a close knit group of enthusiasts who love to tinker with electronics, programming, computers, robotics and some fabrication. They are normally not open access and limited in size. Equipment varies wildly in type, quality and age, and is usually donated by members. Most hackerspaces are put together for the use of a small group of people, sort of a private shared workshop. www.hackerspaces.org lists the vast majority of these spaces.


School makerspaces – Found in middle and high schools, they are usually in one classroom or the school library. Only certain students allowed to use them and for limited hours. Equipment types and ages can vary wildly. Most schools that have create makerspaces only have some computers with CAD, one or two 3D printers, and perhaps a small laser cutter. Vocademy is becoming a driving force for creating bigger and better makerspaces in schools. We know that students who gain access to these spaces will want more and more access, and the schools will also reap big benefits. In October of 2014, Gene Sherman (our founder) gave a talk about getting makerspaces into schools. We are here to provide all the answers and help schools create their own amazing makerspaces.

University & College Makerspaces – Some universities are starting to develop makerspaces on their campuses. These spaces are limited to only students, with very limited hours, and the equipment can vary wildly. Students only work with other students, not with other members of the community, and not with peers or potential employers. There are no thorough classes or skillset paths, just basic operations. Additionally, there are many restrictions and rules because of their campus-based locations.

This does NOT include university machine and fab shops. Machine shops and fabrication areas are not makerspaces. Because access is still limited to very few people, limited hours, no thorough training programs and no state-of-the-art equipment, these shops are essentially inaccessible to the majority of the population.

A university / private makerspace partnership is an ideal solution, giving the students the opportunity to have unguided access to the tools of making, complete instruction, work on their own projects (aka, experience) and to mix with their peers and the local community. We can help higher education with every aspect of creating their own makerspace(s).


Home makerspaces – A home makerspace can be anything from a 3D printer in a bedroom to someone lucky enough to have a full garage workshop. In which case the family, and perhaps, some friends are very fortunate, but others cannot use these tools when they desire. There are also the issues of liability and lack of instruction or classes. We do encourage everyone to get involved in making, regardless of the available tools or facility. Many great inventions, ideas and friendships start around a kitchen table with some basic tools! Now with the advent of on-line how-to videos, there are millions of DIY opportunities at home or at a local makerspace!


Library makerspaces – Libraries are very limited in the equipment they can have because of fumes, dust and noise restrictions. 3D printers and laser cutters emit fumes that must be vented. Almost all other makerspace tools create dust and noise and will never be allowed in a library environment. Milling machines, sewing machines, welding and most other “tools of making” will not be allowed. In addition, there are normally no classes or curriculum, limited hours, limited space, and limited number of machines. Libraries are a great place for people to find knowledge, share ideas, and perhaps do some 3D printing. To make sure a library makerspace is as good as it can be, we are here to help.


Private makerspaces – There are some incredible makerspaces that are only open to employees of certain organizations or corporations. Even then, only a small fractions of employees or others gain access to these amazing spaces. There are no skillset classes and limited instruction, but the equipment and facilities are state-of-the-art. One of the best is Pier 9 in San Francisco: http://www.autodesk.com/artist-in-residence/home We want to see more makerspaces in companies and we can help.


Kid-centric makerspaces – These smaller spaces (5,000 sq ft) spaces specialize in kids, normally under the age of 14. Equipment usually consists of 3D printers, computers, robotics kits, Legos and other kit based activities. They do not have industrial equipment, multi-session classes, and normally have regular business hours. Great for kids, but not for the rest of us, the grown up kids.


Access makerspaces – There are many makerspaces opening in the country that give people access to tools and equipment. Some are very large 40,000sq ft. artist-centric facilities and others are 5,000-20,000sq ft. community workshops. These places usually provide some limited or basic training. Just enough to give you a working knowledge and (hopefully) enough not to harm yourself or the machines. They vary wildly on equipment type, age and quantity. They are usually open to adults only, but some have kids events. The hours of operation and quality of the facility also vary. The vast majority of these spaces lack a curriculum or classes that take you beyond basic instruction. They are truly “access to equipment” for those that know exactly what they need those machines for. Tech Shops and Fab Labs are two brand names for these type of spaces. They are very different in size, capability and goals.


Want to start your own? – We can help you start a makerspace of your own:  https://www.vocademy.com/makerspaces/

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