Urban Workshop - SoCal Makerspace!
Last week I (Chris) was in Southern California with my wife who went for a work conference. When I find myself in a new city/region I like to go visit local makerspaces or fab labs to see how things are done elsewhere. Well I posted to a makerspace Facebook group that I’m in and heard back from 1 person, Steven Trindade of Urban Workshop (UW).
When I arrived at UW I really expected to be meeting a member of the space that was going to show me around. Nope. I was greeted by the owner/CEO/president of the facility!
Steven is a mechanical engineer by trade, like myself and sort of fell into the makerspace game by accident (also like me). Steven has a background as a race team engineer and the old UW space was the shop for the race team at one point. When the race team was sold and he transitioned away from the team, he was left with a shop facility that people basically kept asking to use and he decided to open it up (long story short).
Now, they are 7 years (I think) into the endeavour and have a 5000 sq ft facility near the John Wayne Airport. They have had anywhere from 250-400 members throughout the years, and have 40 staff members that work to keep everything flowing! Most of the staff are part time and/or are instructors teaching workshops/classes. At any given point there are a number of adult and K-12 programs running and most of the classes are multiple tiers that really allow you to get in-depth training on the equipment and software.
The facility is split up into various sections. They have full metal, wood, welding and auto shop areas and since SoCal is nice most of the year, they have some outdoor space dedicated to some messy practices like sanding, painting and blacksmithing.
Lots of local businesses are run out of the makerspace, members can rent space to keep projects, materials or a desk. While I was there I saw 2 members that work on converting vans into livable RVs hard at work installing assemblies that were cut out on a CNC router.
During the day there are lots of K-12 education programs, lots of small/local businesses that run out of the space and at night and weekends they get the crowd with day jobs who might be working on side hustle projects at the space or just like to tinker and learn.
All in all, I was glad to have made the trek to visit UW. I learned a lot from their way of doing things and took down some ideas for things we can implement at our space!