Meet Your Makers

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WatercolorBot: If this bot looks like a glorified science project, that’s because it basically is. In 2013, a 12-year-old girl developed the idea. Now, Makers in need of a steady hand can paint detailed pictures using just the basics: brush, colors, and water.

CM_MAR15_FEATURE_FutureIconIn a moment of intense regional change, we thought it would be fun to ponder tomorrow from various angles. So for our April 2015 issue, we looked at the immediate future of Cincinnati.

Think of a MakerSpace as CrossFit for brainiacs. The workshops have popped up across the globe over the last five years, many functioning as members-only clubs (like The Manufactory in Sharonville) full of gadgets used to hack, mold, and create. Ella Mulford, team leader at the Main Library’s MakerSpace, saw an opportunity for people to collaborate and create rather than merely consume media. In January, the Main Library unveiled a 9,000-square-foot $160,000 innovation station on the second floor of the North building, ushering out the newspapers and magazines that had occupied the area. “I think that’s fitting,” says Mulford.

Egg-Bot: Mugs filled with food coloring are so yesterday’s Easter egg painting technique. Plug in any small, cylindrical item—from golf balls to mini-pumpkins—and the Egg-Bot’s 200 RPM motor rotates the object as a Sharpie draws your design.
Egg-Bot: Mugs filled with food coloring are so yesterday’s Easter egg painting technique. Plug in any small, cylindrical item—from golf balls to mini-pumpkins—and the Egg-Bot’s 200 RPM motor rotates the object as a Sharpie draws your design.
Robo 3D Printer: This mesmerizing engraver uses a precision laser to burn images onto surfaces ranging from wood to glass to ceramic. The base is wide enough to fit a skateboard and the laser is powerful enough to cut materials up to half an inch thick.
Robo 3D Printer: This mesmerizing engraver uses a precision laser to burn images onto surfaces ranging from wood to glass to ceramic. The base is wide enough to fit a skateboard and the laser is powerful enough to cut materials up to half an inch thick.

The space features 12 stations, from small, basic contraptions like a button maker to the complex but still user-friendly laser engraver and 3D printers. “We tried to buy equipment that anyone can use,” she says. Using the machines is free; materials are cheap. If you’re intimidated by terms like rasterizing and liquid resin printing, the library offers instruction through Maker Programs and free online tutoring. And with dedicated spaces slated for new branch buildings in St. Bernard and Reading, the opportunity for making will only grow. “I can think of 10 things to do for every piece of equipment,” says Mulford. “But that’s the tip of the iceberg.”

Recording Booth: Drop a mixtape, record a podcast, or jam with friends in the recording studio. Complete with four microphones and mixing and editing software, this nearly soundproof booth is the second most popular station on the floor.
Recording Booth: Drop a mixtape, record a podcast, or jam with friends in the recording studio. Complete with four microphones and mixing and editing software, this nearly soundproof booth is the second most popular station on the floor.
Laser Engraver: This mesmerizing engraver uses a precision laser to burn images onto surfaces ranging from wood to glass to ceramic. The base is wide enough to fit a skateboard and the laser is powerful enough to cut materials up to half an inch thick.
Laser Engraver: This mesmerizing engraver uses a precision laser to burn images onto surfaces ranging from wood to glass to ceramic. The base is wide enough to fit a skateboard and the laser is powerful enough to cut materials up to half an inch thick.

Photographs by Jeremy Kramer

Originally published in the April 2015 issue.

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