Turk File

Lafayette's 'makerspace' hosts open house Sunday

by Leslie Turk

Drop by 401 E. Cypress St. for a tour of Lafayette's soon-to-be makerspace and an informal discussion on the space's potential and future activities.

The community is encouraged to stop by 401 E. Cypress St. at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 23, for a tour of Lafayette's soon-to-be "makerspace" and an informal discussion on the space's potential and future activities.

Lafayette's unnamed makerspace has reached its first crowd-sourced fundraising goal thanks to overwhelming generosity and interest from the community. Now project organizers are working to add Lafayette to the rapidly growing list of makerspace communities across the country and worldwide.

To put it simply, makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, collaboration and learning for the purpose of enabling members to design, prototype and create. They offer tools and resources that aren't typically available to people working alone.

Makerspaces are a fairly new phenomenon, but are beginning to produce projects with significant national impacts.

The 10,000-square-foot warehouse, located on the edge of downtown Lafayette, could be used by artists, inventors, craftsmen and others who want to share ideas and inspiration. These "makers" could gain access to the workshop and tools by purchasing memberships, teaching classes or building items required for ongoing projects.

Ultimately, the function of the Lafayette makerspace and the resources it offers will be directed by the needs of its members. Those needs could include 3-D printers, metalworking equipment, laser etchers, photography equipment, robotics equipment, open-source electronics - such as Arduino-based projects - and large-scale woodworking tools, in addition to other resources suggested by users.

"The space has so much potential, and we're aiming to create a culture of engagement, collaboration, diversity and, above all, fun," board member Jackie Lyle said in a news release. "That's why it's so important for the community to show up Sunday and join the conversation."