Defining a Makerspace

It’s certainly a buzzy word in the education and professional worlds — but what exactly is a makerspace?

It could be a corner of a classroom with Legos, magnetic tiles, K’Nex, gears, moldable sand, and art supplies. It could be a high-tech lab with 3D printers and laser cutters. It could be a space full of manufacturing equipment and tools. A makerspace is what you make of it, but the object is the same: to enable makers to come together, collaborate, share ideas, work, tinker, explore, and create.


According to the Makerspace Playbook:

Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors, and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: making.

Makers are programmers, engineers, builders, contractors, designers, artists, bakers, crafters, knitters… anyone who makes. Who values creativity and innovation. Who wants to share resources, skills, and ideas with their community. It’s more of a mindset than a physical space — but the physical space does encourage inquiry, exploration, and collaboration.

How are Makerspaces Used for Arts, Tech, Design, & Construction?

The opportunities makerspaces enable are unlimited. They can be used in a variety of innovative ways. Consider what Autodesk did. This company creates software for 3D printers, construction sites, architects, and manufacturing plants. Their technology is so accurate it can print details as small as a quarter of a hair strand.

Autodesk’s fully stocked lab features electronics-, wood-, and metal-working shops, a saw that can cut through steel and stone, an industrial sewing center, and even a test kitchen (their home base of San Francisco is a foodie’s dream, so why not!).

Senior creative programs manager, Noah Weinstein, looked around at the tools of their trade and came up with a brilliant idea. Why not let artists use the workshop?


Innovation and Discovery in a Makerspace

Weinstein says, “This is a new vocabulary of software and a new vocabulary of using these tools for creative output. I think that the artist is a great explorer to ask those questions about what should these tools be doing, what do they do best, and what’s not working?”

So, twice a year, they invite 16 artists in for a four-month residency program. With full use of the workshops, they can make some truly amazing discoveries. One artist, Scott Kildall, created a 3D sculpture of San Francisco’s complex underground water system, utilizing Autodesk’s advanced 3D printing capabilities. Kildsall demanded a lot of their software as each model took 40 – 50 hours to print.

But this was great! He worked closely with engineers to tackle a big issue: what to do when the system is overloaded with data. He learned, and so did they.


Building Community

This is exactly the point, and the promise, of makerspaces like Hub & Spoke. They provide organic opportunities for people with diverse skill sets to come together, interact, collaborate, and problem solve. At Hub & Spoke makers include students, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and others who are interested in exploring and honing their craft in the skilled trades and related industries.

People from all walks of life, all ages, all disciplines, all specialties, and all talents have the chance to take advantage of an environment in which they can work autonomously or collaborate. They can enjoy flexibility and independence, while taking advantage of a noncompetitive, supportive community. The goal: to help people become aware of the immense promise of the construction and building fields and to develop their passions and skills.

Autodesk’s Noah Weinstein hit the nail on the head: he thought outside the box and wondered how to leverage the tools, equipment, and space they had in innovative ways. He brought in people with divergent ways of thinking — “great explorers” — to enhance his team’s experience, as well as that of the artists. Everyone benefits.

No matter what the focus of the makerspace, when diverse people with diverse skills come together, they can make literally anything. In the design and construction industry, a makerspace like Hub & Spoke can also make the difference when it comes to filling labor gaps, recruiting talent, and training a skilled workforce.

Learn more about the Hub & Spoke Makerspace and developing a skilled workforce at


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8100 E 106th Street, Fishers, IN 46038