You can do any job with the right tool.”
This adage begs the question, “Where do I get the tools?” The answer can be found inside a humble Brookside building called Hammerspace.
And it isn’t limited to hammers.
Founder Dave Dalton saw a need for a location for people of all ages with ideas to come and find resources to make them happen.
“Hammerspace is a resource for friends and colleagues as much as for room, tools and professional help,” Dalton says. It’s a safe place to try things and fail, and try again. “It’s for people who have the drive to do the thing they imagine but are missing something in order to do it.”
Outside, the Hammerspace building is nondescript, ordinary. But what goes on inside is remarkable…extraordinary. Imagine Steve Jobs and friends creating computers in his parent’s garage.
The building transformation represents what Hammerspace is about: a converted telephone switching station “up-cycled” into an area for creation and collaboration.
Endless possibilities await at this multi-faceted place that is part idea incubator, tool shop and hang-out. Dreams and experiences volley back and forth like table tennis, and then get built, or rebuilt.
“This place is for any creative person limited by their environment not having someone to share a hobby with, not having tools or big enough table or a spot to do messy projects,” Dalton says. “It’s about finding that missing piece for your next big idea.”
Hammerspace offers a complete woodshop, table saws, band saws, belts and disc and drum sanders; metalworking and metal-smithing instruments, sand-blasters, vacuum formers, welders and torches; automated computer controlled devices like CNC Router, 3D printer; microelectronics tools such as multimeters, oscilloscopes and soldering irons. There is always someone available to help and give instruction. (Show the tool list to anyone who might not read this article but who likes to make things–it has been known to make some salivate.) The tool list makes it sound like it is for guys only, but it isn’t. It is familyfriendly.
The environment is positive, encouraging, humble, generous, intelligent and fun.
“We have a number of families,” Dalton says. Moms work on soft crafts like knitting, then turn around and cut something out with a band saw. Dads and sons come to use wood working tools they don’t have.
Young kids have their own “Little Makers Lounge” to construct and build with toys while parents work.
“There are a variety of kids who enjoy our group, and one type of kid who meshes well in this space enjoys quietly disassembling and reassembling toys,” Dalton says.
Anything that you want to build with or for your family out of almost any materials can be done at Hammerspace. And, there are many ways to connect. Every Thursday evening is Open House where all are welcome to come and explore and see what goes on.
There are a variety of classes and they are open to anyone. Membership gives round-the-clock access, free use of machinery and equipment beyond the scope of classes. Or, try a two-day pass ($25) to work on a single project.
One recent class ($15) used computer guided machinery to manufacture LED Christmas ornaments designed and built using a part made with a 3D printer.
Several teams build power wheels racers–kids’ plastic rider power wheels toys souped-up for competitive racing, an “upcycled” gadget popular with teenagers across the country.
It is also home to Cowtown Computer Congress, a group of smart, friendly, fun, inventive problem solvers and creators who enjoy each other’s company and sharing ideas and helping each other make things. Their presence sets a tone of camaraderie, openness and sharing akin to the open source software culture on the Internet. They are a portal to worlds of information, experience, resources, ideas and how-to, generously offering ideas and experience—great company to help any curious youth to grow and develop.
“We all have this drive to create. And when we see someone else struggle with something we know how to solve, it’s an internal compulsion to help them,” Dalton says.
The Kauffman Foundation is supportive of Hammerspace because of its relationship with the Kansas City’s Maker Faire, a family-friendly event in June at Union Station that “celebrates things people create themselves—from new technology and electronic gizmos to urban farming and ‘slow-made’ foods to homemade clothes, quilts and sculptures.
It brings together makers, crafters, inventors, hackers, scientists and artists for a faire full of fun and inspiration.” (MakerFaireKC.com) Hammerspace is integral in planning and logistics. Luis Rodriguez is a driving force behind the Maker Faire and is also active at Hammerspace, regarded as one of the 3D printer experts.
Hammerspace could be just the tool you or your family needs to discover a new
hobby or complete a project. Check them out for a field trip at HammerspaceHobby.com.