What’s Next for Connecticut “Innovator of the Month” MakeHaven?

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By Ken Liebeskind

Earlier this year, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy launched “Murphy’s Innovator of Month” — a recognition program for entrepreneurs and innovators across the state.

That monthly recognition recently went to New Haven’s own MakeHaven, a nonprofit offering space for makers to work on innovative, community-oriented projects with the latest technology.

“MakeHaven is a hub for innovation. Some of the best and brightest minds are coming together there to share ideas and create,” Murphy said. “The future of our economy is directly tied to the innovative and creative work they do.”

“It was a great honor to be recognized at that level in the state,” said J.R. Logan, Executive Director of MakeHaven. “It’s important for us because we’re more than just a location: We’re part of the maker movement that is pushing forward the ideas and awareness that people can make anything they want now that the technology is available.”

MakeHaven Executive Director J.R. Logan

MakeHaven Executive Director J.R. Logan (Photo by Ken Liebeskind)

An assortment of 3D printers are among the technology available at MakeHaven’s State Street headquarters, including one that was built in-house that Logan used to create parts for a VW camper.

“You can’t print most mechanical parts, but when you lose knobs you can 3D print them back into use,” he said.

MakeHaven members also have access to woodworking machines, electronics workbenches, sewing machines, brewing equipment, multiple laser cutting machines, two computer numerical controlled (CNC) mills and a handful of other tools.

MakeHaven members get creative (Photo courtesy of MakeHaven)

MakeHaven members get creative (Photo courtesy of MakeHaven)

“We’ve used [our tools] to develop fidget spinners, drones, skateboards, lighting contraptions and items for photographic works,” Logan said.

MakeHaven has also sponsored a series of community events, including a “Repair Fair” this spring and a series of hackathons.

“One of the hackathons was based on transportation improvement,” Logan explained. “People made everything from a short wave communication system that works without the internet, to mockups of the way intersections can be different, to a system using smartphones to track bus schedules.”

MakeHaven’s 160 members have constant access to the property, and most of the organization’s revenue comes from membership fees. “We charge $50 a month and adjust it according to member needs,” Logan said. The team plans to move to a larger location on Chapel Street in November.

Welcome to MakeHaven HQ. (Photo courtesy of MakeHaven)

Welcome to MakeHaven HQ. (Photo courtesy of MakeHaven)

MakeHaven also partners with the VA Connecticut Healthcare System to provide access to veterans and scholarships for low-income makers. “A number of veterans have taken advantage of the woodworking area and built things out of wood, and one is learning to sew,” Logan said.

The role of technology in the MakeHaven environment contributes to its success. “MakeHaven removes the mystery of technology and breaks the barriers of access to tools so people can make almost anything,” Logan continued.

“I am proud of what MakeHaven has done to help others unleash their innovative potential.”

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