"So.... What IS MAKE! Chicago?"
MAKE! Chicago is a Maker Space, located in the heart of Bridgeport's arts district.
"Oh. Umm...What's a... Maker Space...?"
Maker Spaces are community workshops with tools and specialty equipment which are open to the public. Some are geared towards rapid prototyping technologies like laser cutters and 3-D printers. Others focus on industrial technologies like woodworking and metals casting. They are places where local folks may join up as a member and use the facilities to explore their creative interests. They also afford Makers the support structure of knowledgable staff or volunteers of which to ask questions and get help, and the comraderie of a community of fellow Makers who may share their interests.
"What... who, are Makers?"
Anybody can be a Maker! Makers are people who like to make stuff, fix stuff, work with their hands, experiment, and solve puzzles. Mechanics, woodworkers, engineers, chefs, bicycle enthusiasts, artists, anybody in any field will likely come across some road block that requires making something to solve the problem. Be you artist, DIY enthusiast, handyperson, homeowner, tinkerer, designer, dabbler, bodger, inventor, (etc. etc.), professional or hobbyist, beginner, intermediate, or advanced, all kinds of Makers are welcome at MAKE! Chicago.
"What kinda tools 'n' stuff you got at MAKE! Chicago?"
We have a clean, brightly lit and (mostly) well organized workshop filled with all sorts of hand and power tools. The main shop is set up for woodworking and such. We have a separate metals studio for welding and fabrication. In the basement there is a ventilated clean room for staining and lacquering. It's also great for high VOC stuff like epoxies and resins, and dusty materials like plasters and cement. We have recently added a CNC Carving machine to our available equipment, and are researching more 3-D technologies to add to our facilities.
Click HERE for a (mostly) full list of our tools.
Mostly, our Resident Makers do a lot of furniture making, restorations, metalworking, welding, sculpture, art, repairs, and the like. But we welcome all sorts of Makers! We supply the space, equipment, and support. You bring the materials, and creativity.
"Does it cost a lot?"
"OK! Now I REALLLLY want to MAKE STUFF! But... I have no clue what I'm doing."
We encourage our members to explore and grow. To help promote skill development and refinement amongst our community members, we host a variety of classes and workshops throughout the year. Course topics include woodworking, refinishing, upholstery, furniture making, metalworking, welding, and more.
"Can I sell stuff I make and basically run my own business out of your space?"
It's part of our mission to support Makers of all levels to reach their goals. If one of those goals is to become a professional full time Maker, we're here to help. We can be, and have been, an affordable stepping stone for the advance hobbyist to grow into a viable small business. In the past, Makers have used our shop to trouble shoot, experiment, refine and prepare new product concepts for everything from selling at local craft shows, to Shark Tank. But everyone of our Resident Makers is an equal, and must respect the facilities, respect their fellow Makers, and abide by our codes of conduct. Keep it classy, and you can sweat for all the bucks you like in our space.
"Can my buddy come help me make stuff next weekend?"
Yes. If he buys a day-pass and signs a waiver.
"Does my friend need to pay and sign a waiver if she's just helping me load in some lumber?"
No, that's fine.
"You ever get all the members together and have a party?"
We're a community of people with shared interests, making our ways through life. Many come to MAKE! for a bit of respite from the drudgery of the corporate world - a space to get dusty and make something tangible with your own two hands. Some of us come in a lot, some of us only rarely. We like to keep our community together, and help people connect especially those who only come into the space every so often.
We'll do a pizza, beer and billiards night every so often and shoot the bull. And, every couple months, during "Third Fridays," we host "Open Shop Night". This is an informal, family friendly night of crafting, merrymaking, networking, and fun. It's open to all Makers from our community, and the public. Each event has a unique theme and an activity to go along with it.
"This is AWESOME SAUCE!!! How do I join?"