The “maker revolution” has begun.
“There’s a resurgence of this idea to kinda use your hands, get back into the nitty-gritty of learning and running tools. During the day I’m a software engineer so after work, I don’t want to be at a computer anymore. I’d rather be doing something more hands-on, something more solid than being at a screen all day.”Chris Potter, Reforge Charleston
Thus the idea of a Makerspace began- a community workshop filled with machines that cultivate creativity and collaboration. These spaces are popping up all over- sometimes in unexpected places. Reforge Charleston, located in the Citadel Mall, is a non-profit makerspace run by volunteers, like Potter.
“Our goal here is to help people experience and learn, specifically 3D printing, specifically anything CNC related- something that is becoming more approachable but maybe a bit too expensive to invest in themselves,” said Potter.
Computer numerical control, or CNC, machines take a digital file and send directions to a tool that shapes and cuts material with tremendous precision and accuracy. 3D printers, laser engravers, and other CNC machines can produce astounding results not possible with human hands! They may seem complicated but it is actually quite easy to learn with classes at Reforge or even at your local library!
The Charleston County Public Library has one makerspace open for business at the Wando Mt. Pleasant branch with more on the way. All are and will be free and open to any Charleston County Public Library cardholder.
“All you have to do is give us that model, whether you found it somewhere or made it yourself, we handle the part for 3D printing. If you’re scared about it- don’t worry! If you want to talk about it you can always call the library, or come in and I’ll gladly tell you how it works.”Adam Rollins, Wando Mt. Pleasant Library Makerspace Coordinator
There’s always a bit of danger involved with working with hot plastic and lasers, so both Makerspaces require introductory orientation sessions which you can find on their websites. If computer-controlled lasers aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other tools available. From small sewing machines to full wood shops, Makerspaces can provide the resources and tools that may be too expensive or simply too large to have at home.
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