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6 DC Area Makerspaces

It wasn’t that long ago that “makerspaces” were non-existent in the DC region. (President Jefferson made a lot of stuff, but that doesn't count.) Now they’re popping up everywhere, and people can make just about anything. Here are six you could know about:

1) Makersmiths


Location: Working out of temporary space in Loudoun County, but will move into 3k SF permanent space in Leesburg spring 2015. 
Description: Member-based nonprofit launched October 2014; Makersmiths is working on creating a community of makers in Loudoun County, made up of adult enthusiasts, students, entrepreneurs, and community organizations.
What's inside: Some equipment to be donated by members and organization plans to add tools like a laser cutter, a 3D scanner, and a CAD lab within the first 6-12 months. The space will also have ability for members to work on cars. 
Cost: Individual membership is $100 and two hours of volunteer time per month; organizational membership is $150 and four hours of volunteer time per month. 
Size: 3k SF of flex/industrial space to grow over time.

2) Catylator Makerspace


Location: Downtown Silver Spring
Description: Not yet launched, but founder Steve Morris (above) is looking for space. Will hold a summer camp at a nearby school and hoping to have space by the end of summer. 
What’s inside: Will depend on community but likely to have laser cutters, 3D printers, a wood and metal shop, textiles, and classrooms. 
Cost: Still being finalized but likely to be under $150/month. 
Size: Looking for 2,500 SF. 

3) TechShop


Location: 2110-B Crystal Drive, Arlington
Description: Do-it-yourself design and fabrication space open to the public. Also offers over 50 classes and workshops.
What’s inside: $1M worth of high-end machines and software.
Cost: $125-$175/month or $1,400/year. Add-on family membership is $50/month or $500/year. 
Size: 22k SF
Hours of operation: 9 AM to midnight, seven days a week. Closed on major holidays.

4) Nova Labs


Location: 1916 Isaac Newton Square West, Reston
Description: Nonprofit, membership-driven, all volunteer, founded by 14 makers in 2011 and bootstrapped with no capital. Members get 24/7 access and help co-manage space by teaching classes, maintaining equipment, and promoting making in the community. 
What’s inside: Fabrication shop with laser cutters, wood, CNC machining, and welding equipment; meeting rooms and collaborative workspace; classrooms for hosting educational programs for adults and children; and incubator labs for maker-related businesses. 
Cost: Prospective associate members must be sponsored by current members and commit to a recurring subscription of $50/month. Full membership is $100/month. 
Size: 10,500 SF

5) HacDC


Location: 1525 Newton St NW, third floor, DC
Description: Member-only hacker space for people who want to “creatively rethink technology and occasionally abuse technology in the pursuit of greater knowledge about how it works and repurposing it to build new things." 
What’s inside: Amateur radios, biosignal amplifier, CNC mill, laser cutter, optical table, photolithography PCB Fab, 3D printers, stereoscan scanning electron microscope, full library with technical reference books and publications, amateur radio license manuals, electronic textbooks, programming references, and LiveCDs. 
Cost: $60/month
Hours of operation: Open to the public when a member is present. Monday and Thursday nights are popular gathering times.

6) Greenbelt Makerspace


Location: 125 Centerway, Greenbelt
Description: Community workspace where people meet, socialize, and collaborate. Includes classes, workshops, and projects for all ages. 
What’s inside: Laptops, Wi-Fi, computer servers, LEGO robotics, arduino, microcontrollers, raspberry pi and beagle bone microcomputers, electronics and soldering equipment, 3D printer, band saw, drill press, chop saw, dremel, and other power tools. 
Cost: Membership is free and open to the public. 
Size: 1,500 SF
Hours of operation: Tuesday through Friday 3 PM-10 PM; Saturday and Sunday 12 PM-6 PM.


*Remember high school wood shop? That's the original makerspace, so check local schools and libraries for more opportunities to build.