with gallery: Maker Works draws hobbyists, families and businesses to grand opening
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And that's why they waited until Saturday to hold their grand opening for customers in Ann Arbor.
With 150 members and 15,000 square foot of space, the facility located at 3765 Plaza Drive offers dozens of pieces of state of the art equipment for members to use.
It's part of a national movement in which small-scale manufacturing is being made more accessible to entrepreneurs and citizens with an innovative idea or need.
Co-owners Tom Root and Dale Grover are hoping Saturday's event gets more people to check out all that Maker Works has to offer. They said in August 2011 they need to attract 200 members to break even.
"We most recently added a computer-controlled plasma cutter that can cut plate steel up to half an inch thick," said Root. "Our most popular piece of equipment currently is our laser cutter, which is an easy machine to use. People use it for acrylic boxes, leather camera cases, and small wooden boxes."
Lisa Roberts from Maybee attended the grand opening with hopes of becoming a member.
"It's an incredible opportunity to have a shop like this in Ann Arbor," said Roberts. "I have two teenagers and am considering a family membership."
Roy Schlagle and Lance Gallop came from Tecumseh to see what Maker Works has to offer.
"I want to learn to fix things instead of always buying new ones," said Schlagle.
Gallop says he's interested in robotics.
"I have a couple of robot ideas to flesh out," he said. "It's hard to solder in a small apartment."
What surprised the owners of Maker Works is that they thought that most of the 150 members would be individuals. Instead, it's mostly small business that have bought memberships so far.
"We helped the landlord rent space in other buildings around us to some of the small businesses who are our members and want to be nearby," said Root.
There are two full -time employees and a number of members who come to Maker Works nearly every day.
Some of Maker Works other most popular pieces of equipment include a 3D printer, a vinyl cutter, and a computer controlled embroidery machine and sewing machine.