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Maker Works - A place for me to make stuff I wouldn't dream possible!

Monday, December 9, 2013
I don't even know where to begin with this post.  I'm so excited!

I was looking for a wood shop I could use during the winter time - there's no way I'm working out in the snow!  After doing a Google search to find one in Ann Arbor I came across a website that is a dream come true for do-it-yourselfers like me.

Maker Works is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has 4 areas: circuits, craft, wood and metal.  There is high-tech equipment in each area that you wouldn't believe would be possible for a normal person to use.. it's awesome!  For each piece of equipment you want to you you need to take a small class to educate you on how to use it.  You can sign-up online and there's a small fee, but is totally worth it!

You pay a membership similar to a gym.  You can do daily, monthly or yearly.  There's also a student discount.

They have awesome hours... just perfect for me to be able to go after my husband gets back from work and stay until 9pm on most days!

I took a tour last week when I was in the area and I snapped some pictures to share.
 FRONT PAGE OF THEIR FLYER

BACK PAGE OF THEIR FLYER.

Here's what the outside looks like.  It's located in a business park just across the street from the Ann Arbor Costco.

I didn't snap any pictures of the circuit shop.  It was a room with a large work table and lots of stuff I didn't know too much about but I did see a machine where you could make your own circuit boards!


Here is the Epilog Laser in action.  A guy was using it for the first time to make puzzle poxes out of 1/4" plywood.  You can do cuts in plywood up to 3/4" max and also plexiglass.

The vacuum former heats up plastic and vacuums it over an object to create a mold.
Here's their 3D printer.  I can't believe what it actually does!  It deposits thin layers of plastic at a time, working from bottom to top.
Here's their new 3D printer they just got in and were testing for the first time.
They had sewing machines, a serger and a HUGE-fancy embroidery machine too!
They had a vinyl cutter and here is someone using the heat-press to press vinyl onto fabric.

The woodshop is my favorite area!

Here is something a student from the University was making for one of his classes.  This is the ShopBot router.  You upload your design into the software and it cuts out everything precisely to your specifications.  

You can use different bits and depth settings on the ShopBot to create exactly what you need.

 Delta jointer
 Compound miter saw.  I was impressed with the long work table here.. great for long and/or heavy boards!
 Here is a SawStop Table Saw.  I didn't even know something like this existed.  Basically it's a "smart" saw and has a way of censoring the material being cut and once it changes (ie your hand/finger), the blade is stopped in a fraction of a section.  The tour guide said this technology helped save a finger of a person using it!  I was in love with the HUGE workspace on this table saw!
 Panel saw.. great for cutting down large panels making them easier to work with.
They just got this lathe in and working out being able to use it in the shop.


 Here is the welding station.
 Here is their plasma cutter.  It looked pretty scary to use to me...
... but look what it can do!  You upload your files to the software and it will cut sheet metal up to 3/4" (I think).

I can't remember what this machine was called but it applied 40 tons of pressure to this 3/4" thick steel and punched out this hole.. just like a paper punch!  I couldn't believe it!

I was completely blown away with Maker Works!  Of course the equipment was cool but what made a really great impression on me was meeting one of the founders who was super nice and took the time to talk to me. The employees were nice too!  Also, they have a large conference room with tables you can use for free to host a group (if you're making something) and it's also a place where they meet once a week and everyone can bring their projects they've created to show-off to everyone else.  What I absolutely loved the most was their 'job board' where you could do jobs around the shop to pay for your membership if you couldn't afford it.  I believe each hour of work equaled $9 toward your membership.

They give free tours - stop by and check them out!

They also have a Facebook page.
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