27 Sep Member Spotlight – McPherson County MakerSpace
“At McPherson County MakerSpace we are connecting the curious with teachers and technology,” said Michael Yates, owner of the facility. The McPherson County MakerSpace is the outcome of a seven-year conversation and a year of intense planning and implementing. As a result, the fifth MakerSpace facility in Kansas came to be. Assisting Yates in this endeavor are facility directors Kelly Bruce and Michael Dunn.
With the growing interest in DIY projects, the desire to learn a new trade or skill, or tackling a project that requires the use of high-end equipment – the Makerspace movement continues to increase in momentum. The McPherson County MakerSpace is a member-based organization giving its participants access to sophisticated equipment and tools for personal projects, education, and career development. Monthly memberships start at $35 a month – giving the member 24-7 keycard access to a facility with 3-D printing, soldering stations, and more! The MakerSpace has highly skilled staff to train members on how to correctly and safely operate each piece of equipment. So, if you’re a novice without any prior experience – don’t be intimidated! Members can reserve time on any piece of equipment by going to the McPherson County MakerSpace website. The website even has the option of viewing the Tech Lab via the facility’s live stream camera to see if the piece of equipment you want to use is available!
Some of the things already being done at the MakerSpace include quilting using a long arm quilter, cutting projects of wood using a laser, and printing out custom made items on a high end 3-D printer. Members can use the facility for personal projects, hobbies, or for their own startup business. Businesses may also join the McPherson County MakerSpace to create signs, uniforms, rapid prototypes, or products to sell to customers. Industries could use the MakerSpace facility to sponsor workshops to cultivate interest in their field of work.
The McPherson County MakerSpace has already partnered with the McPherson County Learning Center and is currently working to establish a program with Central Christian College and McPherson College. In the future, they would like to work with different industries to highlight and raise awareness in specialized job skills, like writing G-code (a universally standard programming language) for CNC machines.
The McPherson County MakerSpace is looking at growing and expanding its facility in three phases. Phase I includes the current Tech Lab, a photo portrait studio, and a supply store and lounge area. In the supply store area, members will be able to card in, scan their badge to log into the system, then scan and purchase whatever materials they need for their project. Members are welcome to supply their own material, as long as it is compatible with the piece of equipment it will be used with. Phase II will involve expanding into the 3,000 square foot garage area that is adjacent to the Tech Lab. With that expansion, there will be space to tackle projects involving woodworking, carpentry, pottery, stained glass, and jewelry making. Phase III will involve acquiring a nearby building, which will allow for welding projects and also have a paint booth for members to use.
You can learn even more about the McPherson County MakerSpace and what opportunities you can be a part of by going to their website or Facebook page or call 620-245-7650. The McPherson County MakerSpace is located at 218 N. Ash. Photos from Chamber Connections co-hosted by McPherson County MakerSpace, as well as their Chamber Ribbon Cutting, can be seen here.