Last month our general manager, Dean, got a tour of the brand-new Lacey MakerSpace on the Saint Martin’s University campus.
The space, which just opened in the summer, is decked out with equipment to help people make all kinds of useful things.
There’s a wood shop – complete with a dust collection system – that includes an industrial table saw, a compound miter saw, and saws for intricate work. They also have a sanding station, a drill press, and a computer-controlled router.
Head to a side room to use the welding station and torch. If you want to make a custom mask or your own state-of-the-art Storm trooper costume, there are two vacuum formers you can use to melt thin sheets of plastic over a mold to make perfectly shaped components.
In addition to woodworking and welding tools, the space houses sewing machines, a vinyl cutter, and an embroidery machine. They also have a number of 3D printers and an industrial laser cutter – their most popular piece of equipment – to engrave designs onto wood, glass, or metal.
It’s super cool. And right up our alley.
Capital Heating and Cooling was founded by our grandfather as a sheet metal company, so the trades are in our DNA. These days, so many people go straight from high school to college and, as a result, there’s a real need for tradespeople. We want to support organizations that help more people learn skills and create useful things.
What’s our role?
When we found out that the computer design lab at the Maker Space feels like a hothouse in the middle of the day, we offered to donate an air conditioning unit. Not only will a controlled temperature make it more comfortable for people as they’re using design software and printing 3D models, it will help the equipment last longer. And that will help the Maker Space support creators longer.
Joseph Anderson, the organization’s director, says the primary purpose of the Lacey Maker Space is to help small businesses grow. So they’re acquiring as many advanced tools as they can to make community trade-based business stronger.
“We want to help foster innovation and support business start-ups, from design to creation,” he says. He says in the short time they’ve been open, people have used the space to practice skills, make gifts, and create prototypes.
Though the space just opened this summer, the idea has been in the works for a long time.
Graham Sackrison, chair of the executive committee, has been working on it since its inception and helped bring together the community partners who have brought the idea to life. In addition to St. Martin’s University, founding partners include the City of Lacey and the Center for Business & Innovation at the Thurston County Economic Development Council.
We feel so lucky to have the Lacey Maker Space in our community and are honored to use something we do well to help others explore and expand their skills.
Check out their website for information on membership and upcoming classes.