In the digital age, it’s easy to fall reliant on the internet when seeking collaboration. But the web’s space — no matter how vast it seems — is limited.
As innovators continue to push the boundaries of technology, incubator spaces are becoming ever so important. That’s what led J.R. Logan and his team to establish MakeHaven in 2012 — a 2,000-square-foot facility containing a 3D printing area, crafting area, wood shop, laser cutter, kitchen and electronics shop.
“We saw some examples from other cities of spaces where people got together and really wished there was something like that in New Haven,” Logan says.
The nonprofit organization encourages research knowledge by hosting discussions, demonstrations, classes and workshops. Approximately 120 members have unlimited access in the space. Scientists, engineers, hobbyists and craftspeople gather on 266 State Street to create something special.
MakeHaven has made their service affordable, as student memberships are $35 per month and individual memberships are $50 a month. They also have $400 yearly corporate memberships, and a two-member corporate membership for $1,000 a year.
“We work to be sure that we have the tools and support so that someone needs only motivation to go from no experience to designing and fabricating whatever they dream up,” he says.
The facility has already produced a long list of innovative projects with unique applications. Some of the creations include:
- Automated beer brewing system
- Laser cut jewelry with scientific imagery
- Drones of all sizes
“We have a community that is really invested in seeing other people be successful in creating things. All the time I see people helping each other work through how to do a project,” says Logan.
MakeHaven hosts discussion forums where members converge about each other’s projects, and often times, members respond with ideas and solutions, Logan says.
“It is a learning community where the members feel proud of their ability to create and want to share that experience with others,” he explains.
“There are so many things that are difficult to learn on your own, so having such a strong, supportive community is powerful and unique.”
The founders of MakeHaven, along with their constituents, refuse to stop growing and evolving.
From Oct. 14-16, the group will put on an event titled “Hackathon” at the New Haven Train Station. A part of a larger series in the Northeast, this marathon fuels creativity and will involve solving public transportation problems.
MakeHaven is teaming with the New Haven Free Public Library and other education institutions in Elm City to reach more participants.
As their membership continues to grow, MakeHaven will look to expand their space on State Street. Opportunities for rentable studio space may soon be available for private instruction, crafters, entrepreneurs and artists.
“It’s an exciting time for MakeHaven because information technology is changing how our economy is structured. There is rising demand to make things locally again and a desire from people to be creative and entrepreneurial,” Logan says.
“We are building MakeHaven up to be a strong platform for learning and invention.”