Let’s say you’ve dreamt up a blueprint for a pumpkin-chucking catapult. Or perhaps you pilot small planes, obsessing over the idea of a navigation gadget that would provide a visual display of obstructions floating through your air space. Maybe you’re challenged by a brood of house cats and imagine an automated cat feeder that serves meals individually tailored to each of your radio-tagged kitties’ dietary needs. Or you crave owning a beastly battlebot of your own design. So, how do you go about actually building the device you pine after?
Eugene Maker Space could be the answer. A membership-supported, non-profit organization, EMS is comprised of inventor-builder-creator sorts. Think of it as a local club for the likes of Mythbusters fans and kindred Big Bang Theory-type folks. EMS just moved into a 2000-square-foot workshop in West Eugene; the shop is chock-full of tools and machinery for member use. EMS is actively recruiting new members, and if you’re a creative with untapped ideas, this may be the hub to set those ideas loose.
Okay, maybe you don’t feel quite up to the prospect of full-blown construction of your dream device. Even if you aren’t convinced you have all the required skills and knowledge to pull off your ideas, maybe you’d prefer to test the waters with a simpler pilot project. No problem. The EMS mission emphasizes community collaboration. Most of EMS’s two-dozen members embrace individual and group collaborations. There’s almost always somebody in the group that has the technical know-how to solve a design challenge.
“This is an incredible environment and opportunity,” says EMS founder and president, Clif Cox. “Joining EMS is a great way to be exposed to new ideas and to be enthusiastic about learning new things.” Cox points out that EMS is pro-entrepreneur and can be an excellent incubator environment for developing small-business ideas.
Board member Ben Hallart echoes the same sentiments, inviting prospective members to attend one of EMS’s twice-weekly “Open Hack” nights. “Come look around,” advises Hallart. “Sometimes you don’t know what kinds of projects you’re interested in doing until you realize that it’s possible. If we can make those projects possible, we’re doing our job here.”