Staff Writer, Prya Oliveira
“Your space to create your dream” are highlighted words on the Lacey Makerspace website, along with “Create. Innovate. Inspire.” Located in Zaverl Hall near Parsons, this is one of the most fascinating buildings on campus. Many people may not know that this building exists, or of the tools and materials that are inside. I got the opportunity to have a personal tour with Roy Rodriguez, Marketing Director and Grad Assistant, and Maria, a volunteer, as my tour guides. What I saw really blew my mind.
The founding partners of the Lacey Makerspace include the City of Lacey, Thurston Economic Development Council, and Saint Martin’s University. Operation times are Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Premier or business membership to use their tools, materials, and facilities cost $150. But for veterans, those serving in the military and full-time students with a school ID, the discount price is $30 per month. General memberships are open to all community members at the cost of $50 a month. All ages are welcome, but minors need to be accompanied by an adult. On top of their monthly fee, all equipment was donated, as they are a nonprofit organization.
Everyone in the community is welcome, and Rodriguez says that their goal is to “help the community and emphasize on entrepreneurs who want to build prototypes and design products to potentially sell.”
There are multiple of the following machines: 3D printers, laser cut/engravers, CNC routers, plasma cutters, and wood working machines. There is also a separate room for welding with about three different stations. They have every piece of equipment that you can think of. It almost reminded me of Home Depot. One prototype that was being worked on was the StormTrooper from Star Wars. Someone brought in a mask, and they used machines similar to a 3D printer, then filled the mold with their desired material. Also being made in the same room on the plasma cutter were motorcycle parts, a surprising thing that can be built on our campus.
If you aren’t into welding, wood working, or 3D printing and scanning, there are sewing machines available. If you don’t know how to sew, classes which are normally free are offered. Lacey Makerspace also has a machine for printing onto t-shirts.
As Rodriguez had stated, “we are only limited to what you can imagine”- and if that isn’t truly inspiring, I’m not sure what is.
There is a wood cutting machine called “SawStop” that has a sensor to detect human movement. If it senses that you are too close to the machine, it will immediately stop. Maria said that although she doesn’t use this machine, if she did, she would feel safe and comfortable using it because of this safety precaution. On another wood cutting machine, Rodriguez showed me a coffin that was being built on wheels to be used in a Halloween coffin race, and though I thought that was a huge project, he told me that there were even bigger projects.
The makerspace is always looking for ways to expand, but this can only be done with the help of volunteers, because they are a nonprofit. They are looking for mentors, instructors, event coordinators, grant writers, tool masters, and other volunteers that don’t fit these categories. There is potential for greatness and that requires a lot of hands. If that seems interesting to you, head over to Lacey Makerspace and inquire.
They are having a pre-grand opening for Saint Martin’s students on Oct. 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and a grand opening for the community on the same day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Both openings are free entry and you will get guided tours showing you how to use the different machines.