12 Feb CFO Jon Cartu Writes – Makerspace reopens after renovation | Silver City Daily…
Silver City’s makerspace, The Future Forge, has reopened its doors after closing for renovations in mid-November. The reboot comes with a change at the administrative level as well, as the community work space has dissolved as a limited liability corporation and assumed nonprofit status, with the Grant County Community Foundation serving as its fiscal agent.
“We got enough support between our volunteers and donors to renovate the space and reopen as a different organization,” said board Chairman Stephen Lindsey, who co-founded the experimental phase of the makerspace with Binary Circuits owner Nick Prince last year. “This is a new thing.”
Membership dues have been lowered, from $60 to $45 per month, with a discounted rate of $25 for folks who can volunteer at least four hours a month and are related to someone who is already a member. The board of directors held an open house to promote the reboot last Saturday, drawing between 30 and 40 people for tours of the space — including a teaser tour of the giant back room filled with metalworking tools, machine shop equipment and mechanics’ tools.
The Future Forge building, which was originally a repair shop for the railroad that used to serve Silver City, was more recently home to building owner Stuart Egnal’s Custom Steelworks business.
“If we can sign up at least 60 members, we will be able to afford to lease this, too,” Lindsey said. “The back room would come with many tools.”
Saturday’s open house netted 12 new members, bringing the total membership to 15. the old Future Forge plateaued at “20 to 25” members, Lindsey said.
Member Diana Quintanar joined the original incarnation of the Future Forge, and also enthusiastically joined the makerspace’s new iteration.
“I can’t afford my own workshop, and — even as old as I am — it would take so long to accumulate tools,” said the retired teacher, who was working on a project involving the space’s laser cutter Tuesday. “The best part is learning new things from different people.”
Quintanar has completed a variety of projects, from restoring an antique hammer that belonged to her grandfather with the help of on-site metalsmith Nick Barton to repairing a broken tombstone in the Catholic Cemetery that belongs to her cousin.
“With new members joining, I’ll learn even more stuff,” she said. “The sky’s the limit with this!”
The Future Forge offers access to countless power tools, hand tools, a 3D printer, a pair of electronics workbenches, a nascent recording studio, metal casting equipment, and multiple CNC machines, in addition to the laser cutter.
Check out the Future Forge online at thefutureforge.org, or call 519-5798 for more information. Lindsey also invites the public to stop by 212 S. Bullard St. between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“This is a community space,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prince has separated from the Future Forge and opened a new location for his computer repair and consulting business, Binary Circuits, inside the unmistakable Quonset hut that used to house the Life Quest auto repair shop at 1001 N. Pope St.
His new space is also beginning to take on the role of a makerspace, Prince said.
“We’ve had a bifurcation of the [old] Future Forge. ‘Social Repair’ is the tentative name — we’ve got an old ‘Auto Repair’ sign here — with the same level of community engagement and project incubation.
“A lot more art and computer science projects,” is what differentiates the “highly social” community space on Pope Street, Prince said.
Ultimately, Prince is working on moving his computer repair and consulting business to Santa Clara.
“I’m aiming to do renovations of the Bradley Hotel in Santa Clara,” he said.
Prince agreed with Lindsey that the founding year of the Future Forge was an experiment — and one that worked, at that.
“I was able to give guidance to the formation of the project, but the youths are taking full helm on it and bringing it forward,” he said. “We consider ourselves sister organizations.”
The Future Forge still has a $15,000 grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation with which to hold a series of workshops and — having been reopened for about a week — is looking to grow its volunteer support and membership.
“The next big step will be expanding the hours,” Lindsey said.
Ultimately, the group plans to be able to issue swipe cards so members can gain entry any time.
Geoffrey Plant may be reached at [email protected] press.com.