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Public Libraries Tinker With Offering Makerspaces

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the build-and-read dept.

Education 90

eggboard writes "Public libraries are starting to build labs that let patrons experiment with new arts, crafts, and sciences, many of them associated with the maker movement. It's a way to bring this technology and training to those without the money or time to join makerspaces or buy gear themselves. It extends the mission of libraries to educate, inform, and enrich. Many are now experimenting with experimenting."

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Probably won't be as good as the Geek Group. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46084671)

N/T

Not just public libraries, also university ones (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#46084721)

In general, 3D printers are kind of like film editing equipment. Some places have those, the main thing is that you cover the cost of the inputs.

Now, if you could do a 3D pop up graphics novel that you "printed" that would be super cool.

Re:Not just public libraries, also university ones (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46084883)

I work for a large University library, and that is basically what we are turning into. We have some specialized collections, but generally now just buy online access to databases for our students and faculty. Something like 40% of our books are being moved to Aux Storage that can be retrieved if requests, but it has little use. However, we do have several 3d printers, study areas that have resources otherwise unavailable or too costly to the average student, and are toying with more space for specific "fix this type of problem" or "make this". First, ironically enough, was a group with students from english writing, publishing, and art classes to go through the process of making a children's book....in the area of the library that used to have children's books. Though they did go through e-pub as well, so maybe it wasn't completely ironic...

Is the term "library" going to die? (2)

MacAndrew (463832) | about 8 months ago | (#46084991)

And what will replace it? I'm sure this has been asked before but I don't know the answer. Library literally means a collection of books—static, physically recorded information—the kind of thing future libraries are least likely to collect. It's quite a transformation. Library is coming to mean a gathering/making place of things drawn dynamically from elsewhere.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085223)

Same AC as above....I'm not sure the books will entirely go away. We have a digital imaging department as well, and they are backlogged for the next 50 years at the rate it takes to properly do it. Not to mention the formatting and storage options is changed every 5 years. One thing physical books will always have is a set format. If you can hold it and know the language, and can read, you're set. With ebooks, what format? Do I have the DRM "rights" to that knowledge in the book? Is my ipad up to date for the most recent version of the reader? ( Seriously, my mothers iPad is no longer supported for a major ebook reader, guess you really DO have to buy them every year)

Further, certain books we will never be able to image properly. We are primarily a research library, students have access to everything the faculty does in Special Collections, under some supervision. I don't see a name change needed if the research has changed from looking at old books to figuring out new ways to do things. We will always the old books, though I understand the idea. Evolution of words happens as well. That said, I like the idea of where its going. For example our project areas are always cross-discipline, so no one college or department can claim ownership of it, and you get some interesting ideas out of mixing students in, what I view, as a more real world training to solving different problems. It brings far more use than the books, it prevents us from just being a study area or access to computers. That said, its still very much an experiment, so I could be wrong and it could end terribly. Me and my mortgage hope it catches on though.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46085265)

And what will replace it?

Umm ... the Internet?

Library is coming to mean a gathering/making place of things drawn dynamically from elsewhere.

Sounds good to me.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 8 months ago | (#46085971)

The Republican term for "library" is "Communist bookstore". After the bearded hackers and makers start showing up I'm sure they'll start calling libraries the "urban commune and homeless shelter".

funny. Of course "teach a man to fish" (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46087621)

That's funny. You're poking fun at me, and still I find it funny.

Of course, in reality Republicans say "teach a man to fish, you've fed him for a lifetime" as opposed to Democrat proposals to "give a man a fish, to feed him for a day". So libraries are exactly the kind of thing conservatives prefer. The Democrat version of a library is to mail out books to anyone making under $30K, after spending $8 trillion to translate all books into every known language. Libraries are unacceptable because most of the books are in English and Spanish, which is unfair to the illegal alien from Tinyistan.

Re: funny. Of course "teach a man to fish" (2)

Adriax (746043) | about 8 months ago | (#46090893)

Actually the democrat view is "Give a man a fish so his kids don't starve to death while he learns to fish."

way off topic, but Ds oppose job training, work (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46091461)

We're getting way off topic, but Ds have for decades generally opposed any kind of "welfare to work" or job training requirements for receiving public funds. Clinton did sign the bill that republicans passed in 1996, but since then Obama has been undoing it, removing or relaxing the requirement to eventually get job training or start working in order to continue to receive handouts.

So based on their record, what democrats have been doing since at least the days of Reagan, the Democrat view has been more "keep giving a man fish and don't expect him to learn how to fish".

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087643)

Yeah. Whatever fucktard. Most "makers" I know just copy some shit half-assed from instructables.com and try to pass it off as cool. Most of them couldn't put together a light/switch/battery circuit without a Forrest Mims book showing them how.
 
Just a bunch of blowhards who feel accomplished doing anything more than delivering a pizza.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46085873)

And what will replace it? I'm sure this has been asked before but I don't know the answer. Library literally means a collection of books—static, physically recorded information—the kind of thing future libraries are least likely to collect. It's quite a transformation. Library is coming to mean a gathering/making place of things drawn dynamically from elsewhere.

It may mean literally a collection of books, but it didn't stay that way very long, I'm sure. Libraries in the real world are typically collections of cultural resources, and while books may be what they're most famous for, that's not all you'll usually find there. At one time at least, our local system allowed you to check out paintings and other forms of art. I've checked out more than a few audio recordings in various media. More recently, the local branch has a pretty nice collection of movies and TV shows on DVD. And, of course, now we have public Internet access there. And newspapers/other periodicals. I suspect maybe even Lego blocks in the kid's section.

Actual manufacturing facilities aren't traditionally libary resources, but unlike a machine or woodworking shop, 3D printers are fairly quiet and won't litter the place with metal filings or sawdust.

As for gathering, the local libraries also have public meeting rooms, used as polling places, club meeting sites, and so forth. So maybe not as big a transformation as it seems.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 8 months ago | (#46087187)

typically collections of cultural resources

I'd change this to "cultural and educational resources", and add in places for social gathering - how many childhood friendships started out as 2 mommies taking their kids to reading circle time at the local library? Quite a few, and I know that I still had social contact with some of my reading@thelib times through highschool even though we never attended the same schools.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46086303)

Is the term "library" going to die?

No, probably not.

And what will replace it?

The church of latter day coffedrinkers and smartys.

Re:Is the term "library" going to die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46088927)

> Library is coming to mean a gathering/making place of things drawn dynamically from elsewhere.

Yeah. And these "gatherings"... the people won't shut the fuck up. Yakking it the fuck up in their goddamned "gatherings" makes it a sucky place to actually read.

Bring Your Own Power Tools? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#46084843)

Just wondering. I need a work space to do one of those "80 percent lower" kits.

Re:Bring Your Own Power Tools? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46084981)

Dude, you can get a drill press for, like, 50 bucks at Harbor Freight.

Re:Bring Your Own Power Tools? (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about 8 months ago | (#46086341)

If you live in an apartment or condo, where are you going to put that drill press?

Re:Bring Your Own Power Tools? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46087541)

If you live in an apartment or condo, where are you going to put that drill press?

Even a relatively fancy (say, 19") drill press will fit in a pretty small amount of floor space, equivalent to a small bookshelf. I know, because I have a 19" craftsman with a 5/8" chuck that I picked up at a yard sale for only twice as much as a new harbor freight 4" tabletop unit. Which, by the way, you can probably store under a desk or in the back of a closet.

Re:Bring Your Own Power Tools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087559)

I put mine in the lounge/dining room with the other tools. The bathroom was too crowded, but I did do the spray-painting in there.

Re:Bring Your Own Power Tools? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46084987)

Usually no, but libraries aren't most hackerspaces, so who knows.

Ridiculous. (1, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 8 months ago | (#46084867)

Is it me or is the maker movement based around a bunch of hispters patting themselves on the back for doing stuff humans have been doing for eons? They'll spam everyone about a crappy iPhone holder but wouldn't be able to switch out a faulty light switch in their own apartment.

Outside of making 3D printers accessible I'm not sure how libraries could feasibly offer workshops. People don't only work in plastic, and presently 3D printing is a novelty for your average person.

Re:Ridiculous. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085089)

Is it me or is the maker movement based around a bunch of hispters patting themselves on the back for doing stuff humans have been doing for eons?

No.

For the first time, makers (prototype makers/modelers in my day when we did this in the snow - uphill - both ways!) don't have to use milling machines, lathes, foundries , molding machines and other assorted equipment to get forms they need. No machine shop access required.

A couple of thousand dollars for a 3D printer or free replaces hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment - and specific skills and training.

Machine shop skills are a time consuming skill and when you're keeping up with other technology and designing and inventing .... it's nice not to worry about machine shop skills.

NOW - if you want to mass produce your item, those machine shop skills (lathe, milling machine, foundry) will become well respected and needed.

Re:Ridiculous. (-1, Flamebait)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#46085557)

A couple of thousand dollars for a 3D printer or free replaces hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment - and specific skills and training.

Isn't it nice then that the taxpayer is funding the startup costs for the entrepreneur who needs to make his prototypes. Now he can go to the public library and make them.

NOW - if you want to mass produce your item, those machine shop skills (lathe, milling machine, foundry) will become well respected and needed.

Why? At mass production time the object will most likely be injection molded or vacuformed on a machine operated by a high-school dropout. A Chinese high-school, at that. Yeah, one high-school graduate will have to make the molds, but then millions of product will be made from that one person's labor. Replaceable one-person.

No, the only time machine shop skills will be valued is when you are making something that a 3D printer cannot do as cheaply, which today means things made out of solid blocks of metal for strength. Or to make replacement parts for something that wasn't originally CAD-designed and would require longer to scan/fine tune the 3D printer data than it would take to just make the part.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085891)

Isn't it nice then that the taxpayer is funding the startup costs for the entrepreneur who needs to make his prototypes. Now he can go to the public library and make them.

If the entrepreneur is actually required to pay pre-1980's taxes for a change, then I don't mind. I also don't mind if the entrepreneur goes to the library to learn how to make stuff from books, as long as (s)he pays taxes.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46093551)

"..If the entrepreneur is actually required to pay pre-1980's taxes for a change, then I don't mind..."

So ~thats~ why entrepreneurs didnt start popping up all over until the 80s...

Re:Ridiculous. (4, Interesting)

Sentrion (964745) | about 8 months ago | (#46086107)

As a taxpayer I'd rather fund local libraries that get the masses off the streets, educated, literate, potentially productive and even entrepreneurial. If I was going to cut bloated government bureaucracies that are not essential to the freedom or security of our nation, I'd start with the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Re:Ridiculous. (3, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#46086437)

As a taxpayer I'd rather fund local libraries that get the masses off the streets, educated, literate, potentially productive and even entrepreneurial.

Except that's not what the libraries are doing. They don't deal with "the masses", and they don't create literacy to start with.

If I was going to cut bloated government bureaucracies that are not essential to the freedom or security of our nation, I'd start with the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

That's nice, but the issue you seemed to be replying to was that tax dollars are going to fund the entrepreneurs who need to build prototypes of their products but don't want to spend the money for the equipment to do that themselves. You might consider that the people who would be making use of this service won't be the poor undereducated ones who never go to the library because they're too busy working to feed their families, but the richer better-educated people who are already up the chain and have ample free time to do this.

And you ignore the difference that the "local libraries" are funded by local tax dollars in local tax districts while the offices you want to eliminate are federal. Cutting either or both of the targets you want eliminated will do nothing to fund libraries.

Re:Ridiculous. (2)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 8 months ago | (#46087489)

You might consider that the people who would be making use of this service won't be the poor undereducated ones who never go to the library because they're too busy working to feed their families, but the richer better-educated people who are already up the chain and have ample free time to do this.

Did you seriously just type that?

There are plenty of folks who have "ample free time" on their hands, and the vast majority of them are not richer better-educated people. We have a huge government funded idle-class.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46087141)

Isn't it nice then that the taxpayer is funding the startup costs for the entrepreneur who needs to make his prototypes. Now he can go to the public library and make them.

Yes, it is, and if you don't understand why, you're probably a jackass.

You're certainly someone who has no authority whatsoever to be speaking about business and/or the economy.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 8 months ago | (#46090631)

Isn't it nice then that the taxpayer is funding the startup costs for the entrepreneur who needs to make his prototypes. Now he can go to the public library and make them.

How is this any different than the hundreds of 'entrepreneurship' books they keep on the shelves (which probably cost more in total than the 3D printer)? At least the 3D printer may be useful to other people too...

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#46094565)

How is this any different than the hundreds of 'entrepreneurship' books they keep on the shelves (which probably cost more in total than the 3D printer)?

You can get a book for $20. You loan that out for five years. You get a 3D printer for $1000 (a reasonable one that will take some abuse). You're already a factor of 50 more expensive. You buy spools of plastic filament for $20 each. If you run out of filament, the printer is useless. The printer may last a year. How is this different you ask?

The difference is that the entrepreneur is using the printer to keep from having to spend his own money developing a product that he hopes to make money from, and a book is there to educate anyone who comes by.

At least the 3D printer may be useful to other people too...

And books won't be? And a 3D printer that has a line of ten entrepreneurs lined up making production prototypes of widgets will be useful to exactly how many other people?

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46085893)

A couple of thousand dollars for a 3D printer or free replaces hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment - and specific skills and training.

Bingo! I remember a quote about the Video Toaster appliance that was popular back in the late 1980's:

"It's like getting a Mercedes Benz for $100".

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#46085099)

Is it me or is the maker

It's just you, but it is really fun to be disparaging about people who are good at making stuff because we're still at high school.

Re:Ridiculous. (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46085221)

He has a point.

From reading TFA, it's obvious that this isn't a group of skilled craftspeople coming together to share ideas, equipment, and workspace, but rather an attempt to educate the proles in how this new technology can be used to make Christmas ornaments. More like "Summer College" classes for your 6th grader than a real attempt at collaboration.

The downside to this approach, at least from my point of view, is that the people who would use the equipment access to work on real projects are going to be stuck waiting in line behind 1,000 stay-at-home moms, who are laser-cutting snowflakes with their kids faces on them because they have nothing more productive to do with their time.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085363)

" but rather an attempt to educate the proles"
You are a horrible person. A group of people wanting to share and learn to make thing together, and you call them 'proles.'

You are the worst kind of person. A Spoiled, lazy, stuck up, do nothing, judgmental prick.

Apparently only you can has DIY, and no one else?

In short:
Fuck You.

Re:Ridiculous. (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 8 months ago | (#46085741)

He has a point.

From reading TFA, it's obvious that this isn't a group of skilled craftspeople coming together to share ideas, equipment, and workspace, but rather an attempt to educate the proles in how this new technology can be used to make Christmas ornaments. More like "Summer College" classes for your 6th grader than a real attempt at collaboration.

The downside to this approach, at least from my point of view, is that the people who would use the equipment access to work on real projects are going to be stuck waiting in line behind 1,000 stay-at-home moms, who are laser-cutting snowflakes with their kids faces on them because they have nothing more productive to do with their time.

Might I suggest that if you have a "real" project, maybe you should be getting your own equipment instead of tying up public infrastructure which is specifically designed and intended to be accessible by people who aren't already skilled craftspeople. Because everyone who is now a skilled craftsperson wasn't at one point, and the only way to become skilled is by practice (and that is kinda the point behind this initiative).

Your complaint sounds vaguely like a Ferrari owner complaining they can't go 150mph on public freeways. No shit, public freeways aren't for intended for racing, and public "makerspace" equipment isn't intended for serious projects.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46086085)

Might I suggest that if you have a "real" project, maybe you should be getting your own equipment instead of tying up public infrastructure which is specifically designed and intended to be accessible by people who aren't already skilled craftspeople.

Having skill and being able to afford thousands of dollars in equipment are two very, very different horses, you know. Yea, I've built some amazing shit with hand tools, because that's all I can afford - just think what I could do if I had access to a CNC mill, or laser cutter, or 3D printer, or something else I can't afford and have no space for.

Your complaint sounds vaguely like a Ferrari owner complaining they can't go 150mph on public freeways.

Only if you suck at analogies. And understanding.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 8 months ago | (#46086195)

I think there is still a fear among industrialists, and those believe their economic well being is dependent on the profitability of industrialist, that 3D printing will eat into the spare parts business (where a single component of a 10-20 component product can cost more than 50% of the retail price of a replacement product), and possibly also those businesses that thrive by charging consumers $100 or more for a product that is nothing more than a small collection of lose parts manually connected together in a span of one to ten minutes, often by the consumer themselves when labeled "some assembly required".

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46090689)

Might I suggest that you re-read what he said? He was saying that these resources will be tied up by people who aren't trying to become skilled craftsmen, they'll be tied up by moms with a free afternoon who don't feel like taking a nap or reading a book. I'd love it if there was a nearby makerspace (trust me, I've looked) to try my hand at building some things I simply don't have the resources to create. A publicly funded area to do this would be awesome, but if 95% of the time it's in use by 6-year-olds who are busy making super high-tech macaroni art and moms building customized dildos, then it's a waste.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#46086177)

The downside to this approach...is that the people who would use the equipment access to work on real projects are going to be stuck waiting in line behind 1,000 stay-at-home moms...

Maybe they should auction off some of the timeslots to use the equipment. The other timeslots would be free, either a waiting list or a lottery. Everyone who can afford a timeslot would get one quickly, and everyone who can't afford one would just wait their turn. Nobody would be overcharged because it's an auction, the equipment would never go idle unless nobody wants to use it, more people would get to use the equipment because everybody will always be in a hurry to finish up before the end of their timeslot, and taxpayers won't have to foot the whole bill for the equipment.

Everybody wins when we get out of the mindset that everything at public libraries must be free all of the time.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46086287)

The downside to this approach...is that the people who would use the equipment access to work on real projects are going to be stuck waiting in line behind 1,000 stay-at-home moms...

Maybe they should auction off some of the timeslots to use the equipment. The other timeslots would be free, either a waiting list or a lottery. Everyone who can afford a timeslot would get one quickly, and everyone who can't afford one would just wait their turn. Nobody would be overcharged because it's an auction, the equipment would never go idle unless nobody wants to use it, more people would get to use the equipment because everybody will always be in a hurry to finish up before the end of their timeslot, and taxpayers won't have to foot the whole bill for the equipment.

Plus, nobody's going to bid the timeslots up too high, since at a certain price point there's no reason to use the public facility - if you can afford $250 for an hour on the library's equipment, chances are you can afford to buy your own equipment outright.

Everybody wins when we get out of the mindset that everything at public libraries must be free all of the time.

I agree, seems reasonable. Thus, there has to be a stupid, probably bureaucratic reason it won't work.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46090727)

Maybe they should auction off some of the timeslots to use the equipment. The other timeslots would be free, either a waiting list or a lottery. Everyone who can afford a timeslot would get one quickly, and everyone who can't afford one would just wait their turn. Nobody would be overcharged because it's an auction, the equipment would never go idle unless nobody wants to use it, more people would get to use the equipment because everybody will always be in a hurry to finish up before the end of their timeslot, and taxpayers won't have to foot the whole bill for the equipment.

Splendid in theory, but never going to happen institutionally. Libraries are well stocked with people who while they may not be antagonistic to those sorts of economic ideas, they aren't entirely comfortable with them either.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085169)

Great Maker, I beseech you! Fix my towel rack.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 8 months ago | (#46086327)

If it saves you money, empowers you (from the domination of conglomerates), gives you freedom of choice, serves as a creative outlet, gives you a chance to help others, nurtures the development of new skills, potentially advances the state of the art (OK - I know that's a stretch for this example), gives you satisfaction, helps you connect with other like-minded people, or opens up a new revenue stream, then why the hell not?

Re:Ridiculous. (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 8 months ago | (#46085175)

A workshop where you can learn woodworking, metalworking, etc. would be WAY more useful, but I guess those aren't hip enough. Back when my dad was in the army, they had a woodworking shop on post and he ended up making some of the most beautiful furniture (having learned how to do it from classes there). Our family still treasurers it today.

I would much rather learn to use a lathe or welding equipment than a 3D printer. But it's sort of like I was a kid. Karate studios on every corner, but not a single place where I could learn to box.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46085245)

I would much rather learn to use a lathe or welding equipment than a 3D printer. But it's sort of like I was a kid. Karate studios on every corner, but not a single place where I could learn to box.

Hence my feeling that pop culture is a plague upon the human race.

Sweep the leg.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085427)

Its not are fault you only go looking for things that aren't popular, fucking lazy ass hipster.

"A workshop where you can learn woodworking, metalworking, etc. would be WAY more useful, "
A) Those exist, but find that out and you couldn't whine and bitch like a spoiled brat, could you.
B) Who the fuck are you to tell people what is more useful?
C) a 3d printer take up less space, makes less mess, and cost lest to operate and it won't take a finger off.

"Back when my dad was in the army, they had a woodworking shop on post and he ended up making some of the most beautiful furniture (having learned how to do it from classes there). Our family still treasurers it today."
WTF does that have to do with the library?
You are such a twad.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085487)

You are such a twad.

Wow, talk about the pot calling the kettle a pot.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46093597)

My makerspace has a couple 3D printers, but they're not even close to the things that get the most use. The electronics workbench often has some interested people, the laser cutter gets a lot of use, and the wood shop has saws, drills, drill presses, a lathe, a mill, and a CNC mill that get used a bunch. One of our guys has built (out of wood) some of the tables, a loveseat, and the whiteboard that we use. If your makerspace doesn't have woodworking, then I would think that they're missing out. Though, maybe they're just interested in other things.

The mig welder doesn't get used at all, AFAICT. We don't do much metal work, though. I know a couple other places that do. JaxHax does metal art.

Re:Ridiculous. (2)

MrBippers (1091791) | about 8 months ago | (#46085239)

Outside of making 3D printers accessible I'm not sure how libraries could feasibly offer workshops. People don't only work in plastic, and presently 3D printing is a novelty for your average person.

With the Chicago library's lab, they offer various workshops on some small example projects (e.g. a 3D printed trinket or a laser cut greeting card) to expose people to the basic process and offer open lab hours. You can look at the schedule here [chipublib.org] . I'm not sure where you see a problem with the feasibility of this.

3D printing is to a large extent still in the novelty phase, but as it gains in popularity so will the practical applications. I have a broken plastic component of a relay in a 70s era pinball machine for which purchasing a replacement isn't an option. It is however a simple geometric design and I plan on printing a replacement at the library.

Re:Ridiculous. (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46085255)

Is it me or is the maker movement based around a bunch of hispters patting themselves on the back for doing stuff humans have been doing for eons?

It is just you. I am a member of Techshop [wikipedia.org] , and I see fellow members making incredibly innovative stuff that would have been impossible for an individual to make even a decade ago. It is not just 3D printing, but also precision laser cutting, desktop CNC machining, sensors, and cheap/free off-the-shelf software that do computer vision, voice recognition, can compensate for flexing components, etc. From the outside you see "hipsters". From the inside, I see the beginning of a world changing revolution.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 8 months ago | (#46086441)

Not to mention the value of being able to ask someone in the group for help. There are a lot of software geeks and hardware geeks who would love to build a robot - just for the fun of it - but often lack enough skill in either the software or the hardware to be successful. Working together they can both accomplish their own unique goals more effectively. Combined with community gardens, open source software projects, shared work spaces (co-working), peer-to-peer communications, peer-to-peer lending, Wikipedia, etc. it seems like no matter how much power our corporate overloads may gain, people in our society keep finding ways to progress further into a more communal and collaborative society.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 8 months ago | (#46085437)

I was talking with my parents about what it was like growing up in rural America in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the things they said had changed a lot was how much they used to make for themselves, compared to today: made their own clothes, baked their own bread, everyone had a garden and canned their own vegetables, and so on.

Later generations have bought increasingly more stuff ready-made. When my kids go to college they will probably not even know how to cook unless they make a concerted effort to learn before then. This is a consequence of an expanding industrial base and a more efficient market. It's cheaper to buy things than to make them, if you place a monetary value on your time.

I would also point out that our standard of living is quite a bit higher than it was then. Cheap goods have their advantages.

The maker movement, it seems to me, is partly about reclaiming the ability to make things for yourself. It's asserting the idea that stuff you make yourself can be better suited to your needs that what the consumer-oriented mass market supplies.

I don't think it requires that everyone be able to do everything for himself. It encourages that everyone be able to do something for himself.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 8 months ago | (#46086253)

Both of those are discrete skills. We all cant know it all. I know tons of programmers that know fuck-all about real hardware. I hand built a bunch of comps for my CS classmates in college. The university sold 3COM 905Bs and these idiots were using 56k modems across the university switchboard because they were afraid to crack the case.

What's (very) old is new again (4, Informative)

mendax (114116) | about 8 months ago | (#46084879)

This kind of thing has happened before. The ancient Library of Alexandria [wikipedia.org] was much more than a library. It was a government -funded research facility and think tank where many of the greatest minds of the ancient world worked. Granted that it was not a public library like those found in ancient Rome, it's not a surprise at all that public libraries would try to enter this space in at least some form.

Re:What's (very) old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46089967)

And if your research drew the ire of popular opinion or those that shaped it you could be literally murdered [wikipedia.org] !

Community centres used to be like this (4, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 8 months ago | (#46084903)

I have lots of wonderful weird old books from around WWII. It seems that in that era community centres (or centers) had equipped workshops for citizens to drop by and do some woodworking, or repair electrical appliances. After some reflection, I realized this is not compatible with the social model of consuming to keep the economy growing. But it would be nice to have a Mr Fixit type person running a shop for every x number of citizens in an area would can not only run 3D printers, but all the other stuff we seem to have lost in the last half century or so.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46085181)

The sad part is, a lot of the stuff our 'throwaway society' dumps is perfectly repairable.

For example, the boss of a call center I once worked for (as the system admin) wanted me to take a 60" Visio television to the dump, because the screen stopped turning on. Instead of trashing it, I took it home, disassembled it, found the chip that had burned out, and replaced it; I managed to, for less than $10, fix a device that cost the company several hundred dollars to replace.

It boggles the mind.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46085375)

How many hours (total, including disassembly, research, ordering the chip, repairing, and reassembly) did you spend from pickup to repaired an working?

Re:Community centres used to be like this (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46085633)

How many hours (total, including disassembly, research, ordering the chip, repairing, and reassembly) did you spend from pickup to repaired an working?

Maybe 2-3? It was pretty obvious what the issue was once I got the big bastard apart.

Even at $50/hr, it still would have been a quarter the full replacement cost of a brand new 60" HDTV in 2009.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

bigfinger76 (2923613) | about 8 months ago | (#46086175)

You missed the point. Overzeetops time is money, son! Wasting it to fix a t.v. is unacceptable - cuts into /. time.

Re: Community centres used to be like this (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46087935)

That's the issue. I'm all for fixing stuff, too, but to make a living off it - or just break even is hard. And $50 is a very low billable number, $80-100 is closer to most tech time in "low paying" professions. Copier repair is $300 for the first 1/2 hour and (iirc) $150/hr in 1/2 hour increments after that.

Maybe a 100% sales tax funneled into local maker houses would spur us away from our disposable society.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 8 months ago | (#46089375)

On this occasion. The question, though, is what is the joint distribution of repair times and parts costs?

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46089871)

Even so, it's borderline for a business to bother with repair. Say there was a 50% chance of being able to fix it, which these days is probably a bit optimistic because often you can't get replacement custom chips or easily trace faults in LSI parts. They still have to pay someone to look at it to determine it can't be fixed. Even if it is fixed how long will it stay that way? How much will they save due to a newer model using less power?

Go take a look on YouTube at videos of knowledgeable people who document investigating an unknown fault in something like a TV. Half of them fail to fix it, and that's probably skewed by the fact that the ones who fail often don't upload the video.

Your boss probably did the right thing giving it to you. It didn't go into landfill and you were willing to take a chance on repairing it, but for him the odds were better if he just bought a new one.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#46085383)

Part of the problem is that people don't have the time or knowledge to fix complex electronics themselves. To give an example I'm facing, my HP G60 laptop has a glitching screen. If you don't position the screen "just so" the image flickers erratically to the point that you can't read what's on the screen. To the average user, this would be a "the laptop is dead, buy a new one" moment. I, knowing quite a bit more about computers than the average user, was able to isolate that the problem is likely the video cable. (It works perfectly if hooked up to an external monitor.)

You can buy a new cable for $10-15, but the trick is replacing it. I've done laptop repair before, but taking apart the screen is daunting even for me. My other option is find someone with the knowledge to fix this, but I don't know anyone in my area. (Taking it to Best Buy's Geek Squad is *not* an option!) So while I know that this is likely an inexpensive fix, I might wind up buying a new laptop. (The glitching one would be re-purposed as a media server so it wouldn't be a total waste.)

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 8 months ago | (#46085461)

This era of lead-free solder further complicates things. It can be a real bitch to do even a basic solder/un-solder job on modern equipment. A lot of modern equipment just isn't even made to be repaired.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46085721)

This era of lead-free solder further complicates things. It can be a real bitch to do even a basic solder/un-solder job on modern equipment. A lot of modern equipment just isn't even made to be repaired.

It can, but on the other hand, some people might be surprised how easy it is to find, say, complete television logic boards in working condition. Ebay is a good resource, lots of "busted screen but otherwise functional" stuff out there. Just gotta know where to look.

Side note: Why does my mind always read that as "led" free, when you so obviously mean "leed" free? We've had lead-free solder for decades, Brain, get with it!

Re:Community centres used to be like this (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46085699)

If you're concerned about damaging the screen during dis-/re-assembly, you may want to buy a whole screen assembly.

FYI, that thing (HP G60) has a damn expensive screen - most of the replacements I put in cost between $50-80, but looking at laptopscreens.com, it appears yours would cost a few hundred bucks for a stock replacement*. Depending on the age of the laptop (by which I mean it's obsolecense) you may indeed be wise to just buy a new one.

* Of course, if you can live with a slightly smaller screen (15.6" vs 16"), they have an LED conversion kit for the G60, pre-assembled and ready to go, for $100.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085425)

I managed to, for less than $10, fix a device

How much time did you spend fixing it and how much does the company pay you for that time? I betting it's far more than $10. Also, you could have invested that time and failed to fix it, there by wasting money.

I fix stuff that breaks at home too, as much as a hobby as for any other reason. At work, my boss has made it clear that I need to count the value of my time before I pretend I'm saving money.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085473)

IT would have cost the company a lot more to fix it than to replace it.
There is a reason TV repair shops har few and far between.
How long did it take you to diagnose and fix it. Now multiply that by 100.
That's the minimum it would cost tour company to replace it.
I'll let you in on a secret: People cost money.

Consumer electronics are very, very cheap compare to the cost of people.

Re:Community centres used to be like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46085187)

i do this for a pretty large community.

be prepared to take a loss, as in not be able to cover the costs of keeping a shop open
(rent/consumables)

Staying Relevant. (2)

number17 (952777) | about 8 months ago | (#46085131)

Its how the Library system stays relevant. They would like to be a hub for community engagement and sharing of information.

The Toronto Public Library does this by letting you "try out the latest technology by participating in classes, workshops, and meetups." at their Digital Information Hubs [torontopubliclibrary.ca]

Local Library does this (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 8 months ago | (#46085143)

I think it's great - 3d Printers, hands on "toys" for kids that help them learn electronics, computers to learn programming, 3d modeling, and other skills. Its really bringing people back into the libraries.

Used to have something like this in the Air Force (2)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 8 months ago | (#46085179)

Certain air force bases had a garage with tools where airmen could bring their beater cars and fix them up. There was generally some volunteer car mechanic there from the motor pool pitching in to help.

Now I don't think they have this anymore, mostly due to liability.

It is a shame that communities can't have things like this anymore. It was a great place to meet new people and learn from fellow tinkerers. Now our "communities" are anything but - in the U.S. we're a nation of individuals behind their 6 ft. fence, never interacting with our neighbors, precisely because there are vanishing few places where we can meet on common ground.

Re:Used to have something like this in the Air For (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 8 months ago | (#46085499)

The AF may not, but the Army does. Theirs are really well equipped too(as of just a couple years ago), the one I used to work on my car in had nice lifts, paint shops, experienced mechanics(professional), great tools, and lots of other perks. They had 40 bays and it was hard to get in to one because people were always in there doing things from just changing their oil to in my friend's case welding a truck frame back together after it cracked. Right next store was a wood working shop that was really well equipped, and if you stayed in the barracks they also picked out technically savvy people to handle basic building maintenance which required training and access to all sorts of shops and equipment. I really wish that we had them in the normal world now that I'm out. It was a fantastic resource that wasn't ridiculously expensive.

Re:Used to have something like this in the Air For (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46087127)

Certain air force bases had a garage with tools where airmen could bring their beater cars and fix them up. There was generally some volunteer car mechanic there from the motor pool pitching in to help.

Now I don't think they have this anymore, mostly due to liability.

You think they don't have them anyone... but even though you don't know whether they do or not, you're certain about the reason they don't. Typical.

If they don't, it's far more likely it's because of force and budget reductions than anything else. That and the maintainable by the shade tree mechanic beater car of yesteryear is all but gone. Beaters today come from the 90's, and there's darn little you can do with them without specialized tools and knowledge,

Re:Used to have something like this in the Air For (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 8 months ago | (#46087471)

"You think they don't have them anyone... but even though you don't know whether they do or not, you're certain about the reason they don't. Typical."

Thanks for writing my reply to your dumb post. Your post is no less hypothetical than mine.

Free clue for you (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46088517)

On the contrary, your post was a complete ass pull. Mine was factual, living in a military town I've seen first hand what's happened and why. Just because you're a clueless idiot, that doesn't mean everyone else is.

Re:Free clue for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46089187)

I appreciate both of your comments and learned from them.

Derek - You deserve the irate title more than 'Irate Engineer' does!

Re:Free clue for you (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 8 months ago | (#46095435)

I'll raise your "living in a military town" and throw down my 22 years in the Air Force.

I win.

Fuck you.

So, where are your facts? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46095869)

Yet you still stand by your unsupported hypothesis and refuse to produce facts. Twenty two years in the Chair Force doesn't magically change supposition into facts.

Don't bother to answer, as your replies tell the truth of the matter - you've been caught slinging bullshit and can't stand being called on it.

Re:So, where are your facts? (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 8 months ago | (#46095921)

<quote><p>Yet you still stand by your unsupported hypothesis and refuse to produce facts. Twenty two years in the Chair Force doesn't magically change supposition into facts.</p><p>Don't bother to answer, as your replies tell the truth of the matter - you've been caught slinging bullshit and can't stand being called on it.</p></quote>

My friend, you need a psychiatric intervention. Good luck and have a nice life.

we called it "arts and crafts" when I was little (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 8 months ago | (#46085513)

at least you had t be a bit creative then.

workshop (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 8 months ago | (#46086237)

it's called a workshop, if you call it a "maker space" be prepared for a Boot To The Head.

Re:workshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46093501)

makerspace makerspace makerspace. Come give me the boot, cocksmoker. I'll fix it for you.

The Edge - Brisbane Australia (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 8 months ago | (#46087557)

We've had a space like this for a few years now and it has been a very successful demonstration of community effort, business and state grants working together. The Edge [edgeqld.org.au] is attached to the State Library of Queensland and provides maker facilities ("labs"), coworking space, community group meeting spaces and frequently runs workshops for various (frequently open source type) things such as Arduino workshops (run only at cost) and also journalism and (apparently) small business courses.

Probably also worth mentioning that they have one of the most impressive locations [creativespaces.net.au] in Brisbane and that we also have a local Hackerspace [hsbne.org] as well.

I don't participate as much as I would like to unfortunately...

Yes, of course, and call it what you want. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 8 months ago | (#46087777)

In the Philippines as a dependent they had something like this on base - minus the library :}.
It was a hobby shop and one could do anything they wanted, you just purchased the raw materials.
I learned Leather Crafts, how to develop and print film, cut and polish rocks. My Mom tried her hand at oil painting and found she was pretty decent at it. There was so much available to one in such a small place. And no rules, if I felt like repairing my TV the only requirement was I had to lug it in. There was someone there that would help if I had problem; like picking me up off the ground then explain the horizontal oscillator :}

That was in 1967 and the only placed I'd seen anything like it, Yes - Stick something similar in a library, set it alone by itself but everybody should have access to a place like this.

This used to be done in H.S Shops in the evenings (2)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | about 8 months ago | (#46088055)

In the past High Schools made shop space available in the evenings for evening adult "classes." Classes meant you got access to the shop and whatever advice the shop teachers could give for your project.

In the 70s' my father turned a Fiat 500 into an electric car at Arroyo HS at the after school shop sessions. It involved ganging several motors and buildings a mount, and at the time a relay-relay logic controller. I knew people who spent the evenings at the HS wood shop making furniture.

The idea of a public tinkering space is not new. Further, it creates an innovative atmosphere as groups of tinkering minded people gather together.

What what? (1)

SampleFish (2769857) | about 8 months ago | (#46088753)

Can I get a big "HELL YES" ?!

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