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Thank the makers

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Helping my child transform a solid block of wood into a race car for this past weekend’s Cub Scout pinewood derby, one thing became clear about the time I split the chassis in two while mounting the axle:

I am not a maker.

I’m not disowning my child — I did make him. It’s more accurate to say I’m not handy. My creativity stops short of the physical realm. I’m just not a part of the maker movement.

Not familiar with the maker movement? Think of all the DIY geeks out there building their own PCs, then take it a step forward and mix in elements of traditional crafting and wild invention. The maker movement is represented online by Make magazine and the Maker Faire, by the online craft marketplace Etsy and the workshop website Instructables. It’s about Schuyler St. Leger, the Arizona boy who became a YouTube sensation (in a positive way) when his presentation “Why I LOVE My 3D Printer” from February’s Ignite Phoenix event went viral:

The maker movement is about  “do it yourself” — but also “do it with others.” And it all comes together in local “hackerspaces,” where such tinkerers gather to share tools and tips.

HeatSync machining class
A machining class at HeatSync Labs (via the group's Flickr)

The East Valley is home to one of the best examples of this concept in the nation: HeatSync Labs boasts 3-D printing, laser cutting, robotics and many other geeky projects. It’s outgrowing its home at the Gangplank co-op workspace in Chandler and is looking for new digs — and the prospect that the nonprofit could choose Mesa has dominated one of that city’s recent initiatives. The iMesa program lets residents propose and vote on ideas for innovation. Funding a tech incubator — specifically HeatSync — is leading the polls.

I may not be able to master the wheel, but even I can see what a treasure we have in our own backyard.

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About the author

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Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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  • Thanks for the kind words Jayson! HeatSync can’t do it alone though. It needs the people of Mesa to speak up with more than their votes on iMesa. The City is as cash strapped as all the governments in the area and they’ve helped tremendously with legwork to help Heatsync find a site right in the heart of Downtown Mesa. They’re doing what they can, but the citizens can do a lot more. If you’re from Mesa or anywhere nearby, and if you would love to see HeatSync come to downtown Mesa and bring this nonprofit incubator, educational hackerspace home, please go to http://www.heatsynclabs.org/store/memberships/ and sign up for a membership. Then start hacking / making / learning / innovating.

  • Thanks for the kind words Jayson! HeatSync can’t do it alone though. It needs the people of Mesa to speak up with more than their votes on iMesa. The City is as cash strapped as all the governments in the area and they’ve helped tremendously with legwork to help Heatsync find a site right in the heart of Downtown Mesa. They’re doing what they can, but the citizens can do a lot more. If you’re from Mesa or anywhere nearby, and if you would love to see HeatSync come to downtown Mesa and bring this nonprofit incubator, educational hackerspace home, please go to http://www.heatsynclabs.org/store/memberships/ and sign up for a membership. Then start hacking / making / learning / innovating.

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