TechShop has closed its doors. If you never heard of TechShop, it was a creative space, similar to Milwaukee Makerspace, but it was a for-profit venture with all the best equipment, paid instructors, and fell under the “commercial” category in regards to makerspaces. There were TechShops in various cities across the US, including Detroit and Pittsburgh.
TechShop never made it to Milwaukee (and it won’t now) but if you are interested in starting a space, we here at Milwaukee Makerspace are willing to help. We’ll share what we’ve learned in the last 8 years. (A great deal about how we operate can be found on our wiki.)
We’ve got close to 300 members, and it’s still amazing that a city the size of Milwaukee really only has one community makerspace. People ask if we’re afraid of new competition, but we aren’t. We believe everyone should have access to a makerspace. In the past year or so we’ve seen many of the local universities launch spaces for use by students and faculty, and we’ve seen some amazing maker programs happening in high schools. This is all great, and as makers, it makes us pleased to see more makers.
Outside of Milwaukee, we’ve got some great friends at Sector67 and The Bodgery in Madison, and up north at the Appleton Makerspace. There’s a few other spaces around the state (some of which have failed or failed to gain traction) but Southeastern Wisconsin could certainly support another. (There’s also been an idea floated that Milwaukee Makerspace should open a second location a bit west, like in the Brookfield/Waukesha area. Hmmmmm…)
We consider ourselves fortunate that Milwaukee Makerspace has been as successful as we have been. We don’t do everything right, and we probably aren’t a good fit for everyone, but with 290 members, we’re keeping a good number of makers in the Milwaukee area happy enough to keep coming back. :)