Makerspace Design Lab proposal

  • Design Lab

    First of all, I would like to say that I really love what you all have put together at the Makerspace. Having been involved with many different groups of creative people, I can understand the motivation and work it has taken to get to where Makerspace is and I have a ton of respect for it.

    I have come to open houses and participated in several workshops there and have been wondering how I could get involved and enhance the community. I am very interested in 3D printing, woodwork, Arduino and more, but professionally I am a graphic designer, sculptor and mural artist (Google me and check my facebook artist page or my website to see my work).

    I would like to propose the development of a Makerspace Design Lab in one of the empty upstairs rooms to the MakerSpace.

    The Design Lab would be a common shared space, be quiet and relatively dust-free, and would eventually include:

    Vinyl cutter(s)
    Light table
    Layout/signmaking table (including premask station)
    Drafting table
    Reference library
    A couch?

    • plus other capabilities as they become available.

    I can supply most of that right away – most notably my 24” Roland vinyl cutter. I would like to build a light table for the space in the woodshop.

    I would obviously become a key holding member and would gladly ‘lead the charge’ on developing the Design Lab for all to use. I have years of vinyl cutting experience and would share that capability freely, and look forward to being an active participant in the day to day development of the community. I have quite a lot of experience in non-profits and community groups and would gladly share my contacts and abilities with the space, including doing workshops if that was of interest.

    So, that is the basic proposal. If this is something Makerspace is interested in, please let me know and we can take a closer look at the details. I would be ready to go May 1st.

    Thank you for considering my proposal.

  • Founder

    @Vaughn we discussed this very briefly at the meeting last night, but being that it was a very full agenda, and none of us had thought much on it and some hadn’t seen this post, we tabled it until the next meeting.

    Are you able to come to the next board meeting, April 4th? Failing that, we could try and set up a meeting with as much of the board as we can muster some time soonish. It is an interesting proposal, and I think it merits a face to face discussion.

  • Design Lab

    Thanks, Bradley - yep, we can meet when it is convinient. I was by the Space today and chatted briefly about it with Aras, Colin, Grant and Dave. I’ll stop by tonight to the Open House, too.

    It would possible to get it rolling sooner, if there was associated sign making/vinyl cutting to do that could benefit the space - I have the gear and tables, ect. and also quite a bit of vinyl that I could donate for making signs.

    Cool! Look forward to talking about it more.


  • Design Lab

    Oops I meant ‘Nicholas’, not ‘Colin’!

  • @Vaughn can you provide more info about the Vinyl cutter you have? I’m guessing it is a GS-24 or GX-24 based on comments you made at one time about using Corel Draw with it.

    I figured it would be handy to look up capabilities and features of that machine to have a baseline for what it can do. (Cardstock, PostScript, GCode, proprietary interfaces, network capable, level of precision, etc…)

  • @Vaughn we’ve got a drafting arm we could add to that drafting table.

  • Design Lab

    the vinyl cutter is a 24" Roland Camm 1 PNC 1100. It is an older machine, but runs well. I use CorelDRAW with it because I am able to print directly to the plotter and Corel has the widest range of import/export file compatabilities. Any vector (AI or EPS) can be plotted, though, and many people us Adobe InDesign for that.

    Also, I have a premasking table (for applying transfer mask to the cut and weeded vinyl).

    I have a layout table as well - I beleive it is 40"x8’. A very nice table to make signs or layouts, etc.

    thats great. the drafting table I would donate is a nice one with metal legs, drawer and adjustable rubber drawing surface. It has an arm as well, but the one you have in mind may be better.

    I would also think a light-table would be an excellent capability to have for registering multiple layers and refining drawings. If things went in a silk-screen direction (which I am interested in, too) then the lighttable would be good there.

    I would like to build a nice lighttable, or find one. With LED technology, it is a lot easier to do these days.

  • Last time I needed a light-table, it was short notice… So I stuck a lamp inside a spare aquarium and taped stuff to the tank.

    There the bar has been set low. You should have no difficulty doing something nicer than that. :)

    Edit to add:

    @Vaughn Too cool! I have not messed with HPGL native devices since the mid 90’s. That is a super-hackable language format to work in. As I recall there is really good source code in a project called hpgl-distiller to convert postscript into it directly… We should be able to easily talk to the device.

  • Design Lab

    Haha - the last time I didtn have a lighttable large enough, I just worked on my living room window! Analog or what??

    Seriously though, a light table is a strong tool if it is handy. The ability to refine or critique drawings realtime is underrated.

    Thanks @pierre


  • According to section 22.6 of our bylaws we can propose to use the forum to make a decision on important issues. In order make a decision we need a proposal and then we have to reach rough consensus on the forum within 4 days after the proposal. If rough consensus is not reached the item will be postponed to the next board meeting.

    So, I will put the following proposal to get the ball rolling:


    Motion to create a design lab in one of the rooms on the second floor of the building, with the following terms:

    • All members of the makerspace will have full access to this new space.
    • The space will be created with guidance and coordination with @Vaughn, however anyone can help improve the new space
    • The laser cutter will be installed in the design lab
    • Our rent will increase by $600 as soon as we move into this new space
    • After 3 month, makerspace will reevaluate our finances and if we are not able to support this additional space the lab will shutdown or continue.
      • If we shutdown the lab: @Vaughn will have the opportunity to take back any tools he donated to the lab and makerspace tools will be moved back to the other spaces
      • If we continue: All donations to the lab are considered final and will belong to the makerspace

    My hope is that the design lab will work and will become a space many of our members will use regularly. We also hope that by having this space we can attract new members. Having @Vaughn who has extensive experience in running a design space help us is going to be an important asset.

    Please reply to this post clearly indicating whether you support this motion or reject it. Feel free to elaborate. If rough consensus is made 4 days after this post the decision will be final.

  • I support this motion.

  • Member

    I also think this is a good idea! :D

  • Linux

    I support this.

    Learning and working on learning more!


  • That’s good. It keeps the laser cutter out of the dirty parts of the space. Which will extend it’s life considerably. It also enables us to have other tools that are very sensitive to our usual dust and abrasives.

  • Design Lab

    I am ready, willing and able to do this. Pretty excited about it, actually! Awesome to see postive feedback. :) I would gladly coordinate this new facet of the MakerSpace and look forward to sharing and growing it.

    Perhaps we could, in the coming weeks, define what specific goals or benchmarks need to be met to ensure the continuation of the Design Lab after the 3 month test period. If we are very clear what we are shooting for, it will be easier to meet those goals. (# of new members? A certain number of successful workshops? Doing sign projects that benefit the MakerSpace? Ect.?)

    Should this receive overall approval, a few things to consider:

    -The vinyl cutter is currently run by my personal PC. I could bring that with the vinyl cutter initially to run it, but it would be good to have a dedicated PC to run the machine. Is there a box around the Makerspace we could load up with the software, etc? (If I were rich, I would just buy another computer for my home studio and donate this one - alas, I am not that deep in the pockets at this time!)

    -I will bring a table for the computer and vinyl cutter, a premasking table (it holds the drum of premask so a person can premask large sheets by his or herself) layout table, drafting table, and maybe a set of drawers for storing tools and bits associated with it. Everything needed to cut, weed, premask and install computer cut vinyl.

    -My vision of this room includes the walls displaying plans, drawings, art, etc - I would love to see a very creative and inspiring zone develop!

    -I have some solid ideas for workshops that employ this equipment, as well. I look forward to sharing these ideas and getting feedback on them.

    OK, I’ve prattled on enough here - let me know if there is any more information I can provide or anything I can do to help make this happen. I’m good to go April 1st, if that suits the consensus.

    I will come on Weds night and be available to answer questions or visualize things more.

  • @Vaughn Some bench marks would be great. I would be happy with four keyholders or equivelent and a few good sign making jobs for the space. I will be making a donation to the space for doing decals for my race car. It would be nice to do a workshop on logo design. Art around the whole space is an ongoing goal. We have some old computers and should be able to dedicate one to this task.

  • @Vaughn what PC requirements does your vinyl cutter have? I have an older PC I could donate

  • Design Lab

    It wont need anything fancy - Ill get some specs together and bring them. An older computer would be perfect - I have a monitor that I can donate.

  • Metal

    @Nicholas said:

    It would be nice to do a workshop on logo design

    I concur!

  • Design Lab

    RE: Logo Workshop - OK, I’ll put a bit of a plan together for that and get some feedback on it. What information or elements would make a good logo workshop, in your opinion? Any input is welcome on what should be included.

    When would be a good time for a logo workshop? Mid May?

    Another no-brainer workshop is vinyl cutting and install - this will be a good one to get people using the cutter and building a skillbase for it.

    FYI - I have become a Keyholder member as of Weds Mar 15 :)

    I’ll begin setting up the Design Lab late next week - it is a busy time, but I am shooting to have the basics in place in the first week of April, and basically fully operational by the end of April.

    My priority at this time is to meet the requirements of the 3 month Design Lab test period (april-may-june) -that being 4 new solid keyholders (hoping I count as one!), a few good workshops and a few sign jobs completed that benefit the MS.

    Over and out

  • Founder

    Thanks for doing the leg work @arasbm

    I support the motion

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