Co-working is an experience. There is a synergy created when people work together on their own projects and ventures. Between 2006 and 2015, a few studies have shown the number of co-working spaces and available seats has roughly doubled each year. It is no coincidence that the number of makerspaces has also increased during the same time period.A makerspace is a specialised co-working environment. It is an office as well as a workshop facility. People work together in a shared creative manufacturing environment where specialised tools and machines are located and are at their disposal.
Co-working is a self-directed, collaborative, flexible and voluntary work style that is based on mutual trust and the sharing of common core values between its participants. In these co-working environments, one tends to find people from the same industry or background sharing the space, whereas in a makerspace it is quite common to find people from totally different industries and backgrounds working in unison. For example, on one side of the workshop, Craig is assembling his composting mulching machine, when Johan walks in to use the 3D printers to build a part for his company’s latest prototype.
A makerspace can also be an extension of a user’s own workshop where one needs to use a set of tools or machines to complete a project, which they do not have access to. These are usually tools that have a very high capital and running cost, which need to be housed in a warehouse and run on phase electricity and sometimes compressed air. The costs of owning and maintaining a dedicated workshop or office space can be overwhelming, which is why the idea of a co-working space or makerspace becomes very appealing as these costs are shared amongst the members using the facility.
We often have new members who do not know how to use the machinery. We provide them with training, but we often find that their interaction with other members improves their confidence and abilities on the machinery. If we have an open attitude towards training and spreading knowledge on manufacturing techniques, users become more willing to help each other. This is the main reason we provide most of our training on the machines free of charge to members.
Made In Workshop has invested in a shared workshop equipped with heavy duty industrial machinery, such as laser cutters, lathes and CNC equipment. The fourth industrial revolution has made these types of equipment easier to use and more appealing than ever. Users can develop prototypes and
products at a much faster rate than ever before with the help of these machines. From a cash flow perspective, a makerspace is ideal for startup entrepreneurs looking for workshop space and equipment without the high upfront costs. The value offered by makerspaces to SME manufacturers cannot just be measured in terms of capital expenditure, but also in terms of flexibility and time.
In the future, we see the maker and co-working communities merging to allow for a more collaborative environment between technical and creative individuals, and Made In Workshop wants to lead the way. We are actively looking at partnering with existing co-working spaces in the upcoming future.