Twin Cities Maker

10,000 sq ft of Awesomeness

Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Paul Sobczak created the Twin Cities Maker website on January 6, 2009. A blog post on and a pickup by C-Net announced the creation of Twin Cities Maker as a forum online. As a result, in January of 2009 membership on the forum exploded.

Paul was on a nationwide tour of hackerspaces, and not back in the Twin Cities until late spring. With an explosion of forum activity, members metis and juelding pushed for an in person meeting to keep the momentum rolling, and in February of 2009 metis, judeling and pyrodogg attended the first meeting of what would become Twin Cities Maker at Anodyne coffee shop in south Minneapolis. With creative reporting (omitting the number of attendees) of a productive meeting (which it was) on the forums, the next meeting at Common Roots Cafe was attended by more than 20 people (including obibob, danbackslide, and nicklee, amongst others) who chatted about a variety of things.

We spent our first year meeting primarily at the Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis, with occasional forays to Anodyne Coffehouse and Studio Bricolage.

In June of 2009 we formed an informal club, elected officers, and started collecting minimal dues to save up for a security deposit on a "club house" small space.

In December of 2009, our membership voted to merge with another group, Hack Factory of Minnesota. Hack Factory approached Twin Cities Maker to co-operate as they were about to sign a lease on a small private workshop space. Together, we signed a lease that month. As Hack Factory had legal incorporation, and Twin Cities Maker had branding and organization, in the merger, we decided that the space would be called the Hack Factory, and that the community and business would be referred to as Twin Cities Maker, as the intention was to keep the groups community maker/hacker focus broader than just a workshop. We merged our two boards of directors into one board of seven (7) members with the officers of Twin Cities Maker becoming the officers, and the officers of Hack Factory becoming "At-Large" members of the Board of Directors.

We officially opened our nascent workshop in January 2010. Within a month, we had to option our right of refusal on expanding into more space, and with a membership drive, filled out into our current home. Over the following few months, we hosted the first Minne-Faire, and gained fiscal sponsorship through Springborad for the Arts which allowed us to receive tax deductible donations.

  • 1 × SEM Scanning Electron Microscope
  • 1 × Pro LF Series 36x24 CO2 90W
  • 2 × Bridgeport vertical milling machine
  • 1 × South Bend Lathe 14" metal turning
  • 1 × Craftsman Lathe 6" metal turning

View all 14 tools

  • Standards of a sort

    Jude Dornisch06/02/2015 at 05:04 0 comments

    While the eclectic nature of our shop has a certain charm, several areas beg for a bit of standardization. So from now on all new cordless tools will be DeWalt 20v lithium, and all new shop vacs will be Ridgid 14gallons. Obviously interchangeability was the driving force.

    Less obvious is the slow conversion of our flat surfaces. All of our new tables, benches, and desks will conform to a standard. There will be three heights that conform to standard North American desk (30"), counter (36"), and bar (42"). We have settled on a 24" standard square, so tables will be 2x2', 2x4', 4x4' etc. The vast majority of tables, desks, and counters will be 2'x4' and on casters.

    The Idea is that by standardizing we will gain a lot of flexibility. These surfaces are designed to quickly bolt together. So if you need a 4'x8' layout table 4 of the standard 2'x4's can be put together. Many of the tools will be on 2'x2' castered tables that can slot into standard 2x4's to form cut tables. The chop saws and radial arm saws in particular can be moved into position quickly and locked in. The Saw Stop table saw is already at counter height and the other table saws will be set to that height so now the standard 2x4 counter height tables can serve as on and off feed tables.

    Additionally these new tables will serve as very temporary in progress project storage. Glue ups and other overnight functions can be stored on the tables and moved in and out of member storage.

    Plans, Cut lists, Jigs, and materials are available in the shop. Talk to Clara or Jude. The construction and preparation will be incorporated in to the classes and familiarization sessions. Therefore we expect that every welding class will be producing a new desk or table and that training sessions on the Iron Worker and chop saw will be preparing materials for later welding and assembly.

  • 3D Printing moving Downstairs

    Jude Dornisch02/11/2015 at 08:04 0 comments

    Alex (of VendaKit Fame) has Kindly volunteered to honcho 3d printing.

    As part of the server room/ finishing room switch main power has been run so we can make the switch.

    For now it will be sharing space with fabric.

    Note: this is for functioning machines, user project are still to be stored in member storage. Andrey's Concrete mark II project will still be taking up space by metal for a couple more weeks.

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Sophi Kravitz wrote 01/24/2015 at 03:20 point

you have an SEM! Is it all set up? What are you using it for?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jude Dornisch wrote 01/24/2015 at 07:32 point

Hey, yes we had a SEM donated. It is set up but we don't have the film it is set up to use and we haven't rigged a digital camera to it yet, so recording is an issue.

Mainly it has only been used to play with as it is by definition really cool (and so is the sputteror).

Having it however has prompted me to start a long term project I've wanted to attempt for a long time. I'll be working on sintering metal powder with an emphasis on using 3D printing to produce the parts. Porosity and grain structure are important. The SEM will allow a really good look.

  Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 01/23/2015 at 13:15 point

I didn't realize you folks had an SEM--very cool! Any plans to open a NE Mpls satellite location?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jude Dornisch wrote 01/24/2015 at 00:00 point

When you are offered a SEM you find the space for it.

You may want to check out they seem to be headed in a good direction, not ours but a fine one.

The next location debate is an ongoing one for us. We have pretty much maxed out the space at our current location so this is more then an academic debate. But we have always emphasized community and are concerned with the fragmentation that multiple locations would develop. So if we go with an additional location it will either be type (a place where people could work on vehicles) or a satellite in St. Paul.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jasmine Brackett wrote 01/22/2015 at 21:52 point

Glad to have you on! Looking forward to finding out more about the space.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jude Dornisch wrote 01/23/2015 at 10:36 point

Thanks for the welcome. I will try and do something here every week or so.

Our facility The Hack Factory is about 10,000 sq ft. and around 200 dues paying members at any given time. Estimating the community is a bit harder as we a lot of flow with community hanging out to socialize and pay when needed.

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