All about the Ting Makerspace in Westminster
Christine Ottoni • September 5, 2017if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
What’s the Ting Makerspace?
Glad you asked. You’ll find it’s a lot of things. It’s a community space where you’ll meet like-minded people. It’s a tool library where you can try out the latest technology. Most of all, it’s a place where ideas, inventions and innovations come to life.
The truth is, the Ting Makerspace can be whatever you want it to be. We’re kind of leaving that up to you. Is it a place to master skills? To meet other students or entrepreneurs? To try something new? You decide.
Who’s it for?
Everyone! Seriously. The Ting Makerspace is made for makers of all levels. We host field trips, community groups like Cool Kids Coding Club, design challenges like the oyster dish design challenge , tutorials and guest makers who want to share their knowledge. In the future, we’ll be running seasonal make-and-take events and programming series.
To use a tool, just watch a short instructional video and complete an assessment of knowledge. You’ll receive a key card that gives you access to whatever tools you’ve been approved to use.
For more information, check out our User Agreement. You can grab a copy in the Makerspace. It details all the rules of the Makerspace and the liability waiver. You’ll need to sign both to apply for membership.
For younger makers, the minimum age requirement to use the equipment is 12 years old and they have to have a supervisor with them. Kids 15 to 17 can use equipment on their own with signed parent permission.
Tech, tools and gear
In the Ting Makerspace, you’ll find state-of-the-art tools and tech. If you want to reserve a tool, just book it for a specific date and time. Prefer spontaneity? Makerspace gear is first come, first served. Play nice.
We’ve got a mini 3D printer, a 3D scanner, a CNC router, a full spectrum laser, Arduino starter kits, a Dremel, a soldering iron and a photo booth. We also have various designing tools including SolidWorks, Inkscape, Easel, Meshmixer and more.
The rest is up to you
The 3D scanner renders 3D models.
The mini 3D printer renders PLA (plant based plastic) figures in a six inch cubic space.
Arduino starter kits teach you the basics of programming and building circuit boards.
The full spectrum laser engraves and laser cuts wood, plastic, stone, ceramic, fabric, leather, whatever. It also comes with a rotary attachment to engrave glassware.
The CNC router carves programmed designs, patterns and words into materials like wood, copper, 1/8” aluminum and fiberglass.
The Dremel is a nifty tool for carving, engraving, sharpening, cutting, polishing and sanding. It comes with 34 attachments.
The soldering iron is for attaching two or more metal items with solder filler.
The photo booth is for capturing professional pictures of your projects and anything that deserves a high-quality photo.
Waiting for your project to finish? We have a designated area for hanging out with four comfy IKEA chairs, puzzles, legos and magazines. Oh, and we have a Roku setup with apps like Youtube, Pandora, Netflix and Hulu to enhance your Makerspace experience.
Pricing and membership
We have daily passes, full annual memberships and packages for businesses.
Hours and location
The Ting Makerspace is located at 15 E Main St #100 in Westminster, Maryland.
Meet Steve Pixler
Get to know our resident maker-guru Steve Pixler (also known as our Ting Makerspace Specialist).
When did you get started with Ting and the Makerspace?
I started with Ting on January 3rd, 2017. After about a month of general training on Ting Internet and Tucows in general, my responsibilities quickly transitioned into anything and everything Ting Makerspace related.
Why did you want to work in the Makerspace?
I wanted to work in the Makerspace ever since my first job interview with City Manager, Val Giovagnoni. I have always had a passion for technology and a eagerness to learn new skills. So when I had my face-to-face interview, Val brought me into the forthcoming Makerspace and I kept asking questions about the equipment. Val explained to me Ting’s philosophy on makerspaces and their plan to have one. Then she said my primary role would be to get the Ting Makerspace open. I was ecstatic! I had to have the job!
What’s the best part of your job?
If I had to narrow it down to one aspect, I would say the best part of my job is helping our members create their projects. A lot of people come into the Makerspace with ideas and it’s my job to help bring those ideas to life. There’s nothing better than receiving a sincere thank you from a member once I help them complete their project.
Who is the Ting Makerspace for?
People from all walks of life use the Ting Makerspace. Some days I have seven year old kids 3D printing custom fidget spinners working alongside veterans laser engraving plaques for their loved ones. The Ting Makerspace is a community resource for anyone and everyone.
We’ve had local business owners come in and laser-engrave their products, kids 3D print toys, students 3D scan objects and build 3D models, community members attend tutorial events and newbies learn a new skill.
What is your favorite event the Makerspace has put on so far?
My favorite Makerspace event so far was the the launch party for our latest design challenge. We introduced a challenge to design a new prototype for serving oysters. It was an event where attendees learned more about the challenge rules, available tech and judges. They also had the chance to network with other makers.
What is the coolest thing you’ve built in the Makerspace?
The coolest thing I’ve built in the Makerspace was a custom bobblehead statue. We 3D scanned someone’s head, attached it to a human body model, 3D printed the statue and painted the final product to make it even more realistic.
What does someone’s first visit to the Makerspace look like?
When someone walks into the Makerspace for the first time, I greet them and immediately ask if they’re interested in a quick tour. During the walk through, I briefly introduce the available equipment, showcase projects made and answer any questions the guest may have. Afterwards, I explain the process of signing up for a membership. Each aspiring member must watch a quick tutorial video and take a short safety assessment for each piece of equipment they wish to use. The individual must also sign our user agreement, which outlines the rules and risks of using the space. Once the paperwork is out of the way, that individual may sign up for a membership and get making.
To all those individuals who may be interested in using our space but consider themselves “tech-challenged,” I’d say, come in and let me tell you my story and share some of our members’ stories. Back in January when I first landed what some have called the “Coolest Job in the World,” I was a total noob. I had no previous experience in using the tech we provide. But what I may have lacked in experience, I over-compensated in a willingness to try. So, if that tech-challenged person possesses the same willingness as I do, then I believe the Ting Makerspace is a great community resource for all their maker needs.