This blog post is to update on progress and a few other things.
First, NPR Morning Edition had a segment today on Hackerspaces. It talks about how people are repurposing (hacking) stuff to give it new function. Reuse vs Recycle vs discard. The emphasis was on fun projects this week. Next week’s segment will talk about small businesses that have been spawned by maker spaces.
Back to local news: we had a great meetup at my home in Haiku. There were about 20 people attending – a terrific mix of techies, builders and artists. We even had a visitor from Oahu – Jim Bartz is a Makerbot owner and came over to check out our community. I showed off the laser etcher, Makerbot and some (alas failed) prints from the Silhouette vinyl cutter. The level of interest and the terrific mix of people gives me lots of encouragement.
Next – Hunting for a home
We went back to Hali’imaile again to take a long serious look at the spaces available. Unit 11 has two we have been considering. Unit 11A is about 300sqft and Unit 11B is about 2000. One too small, one too big. Both would require significant cleanup and infrastructure improvement (fixing leaks in roof, open grate doors, etc).
We would need the landlord to do a fair bit of improvement on the building (fixing leaks) and they plan to tear it all down in 2-3yrs. It is a good location – fairly central, upcountry (out of heat) and has some awesome views.
Pauwela Cannery has been suggested several times. The rates are lower than ML&P’s and it is more secure/cleaner. There are a fair number of maker businesses already located in the building (eg. Maui CNC). However Haiku is not very convenient for those not already living on this side of the island.
Maui has a very distributed (and fairly small) population. One of our issues in finding a permanent home is getting a location that is equally inconvenient to all. Even places in the central valley are not all that convenient. It takes me 1/2 hour to drive to Kahului from Haiku, about the same for people in Kihei, twice that for some west maui residents. This is especially problematic for our outreach efforts to schools, etc. A popular solution to this for other spaces is to build a mobile lab or hack bus. MIT Fab Lab built 30ft trailer back in 2007 and outfitted it with a ShopBot, Laser Cutter, and a whole lotta other tools. It was most recently used in D.C. in support of the National Fab Lab bill.
I think a small (16′) enclosed trailer would be a good size for a Maui Mobile Maker Lab. This would let us take some of our equipment to schools and community centers around the island. It would also give us a more secure, cleaner, controlled environment for expensive toys like the Epilog.
EL Wire and Soldering Classes
Recently I met the folks who put on the Source Interactive Arts Festival. This is a great eclectic bunch of artists of all sorts, our own flavor of Burning Man. I gave a short intro to Maui Makers at a recent ‘art storm’ event they held and got a tremendous response. One area in particular sparked lots of interest – EL Wire and other light up clothing. There was actually a good bit of discussion about how to do this before my presentation. Afterwards, I decided it was time for a class. So I’m going to put together a small class or two on soldering and EL Wire. I might need to have two classes – one on basic technique and one on use of EL wire. I have found a couple starter kits that look good. MakerShed has their Learn To Solder Kit for $15. It includes soldering iron, etc and a small noise making electronc board. Cool Neon also has a Learn To Solder Kit specifically for EL wire. If you are interested in either class, drop me an email!