We get a lot of questions about Houston Makerspace and the Maker Movement in general, and we love educating our community and getting people making! Below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions we hear:
 

What is a makerspace?

According to Wikipedia, a makerspace “is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art or electronic art; can meet, socialize and collaborate”, and on the Open Education Database “Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.”

Our makerspace strives to take those definitions up a notch by providing a business-oriented, art and design focused community workspace prepared to incubate and accelerate small businesses. You don't have to sell the things you make to work here - but if you'd like to, we'd like to help!

 

How much does it cost to join?

Membership to Houston Makerspace starts at $50/month or $20/day for access to a wealth of tools, machines, resources, and our diverse community of makers. We take the need for investing in your own machines, tools, and shop space out of the equation so you can build your business or learn new hobbies without great financial risk.

 

Can I apply online?

We don't currently sell memberships through our website, although we do sell tickets to classes online. To sign up for membership, please call (713) 808-9708, email info@houstonmakerspace.com, or come visit us in person! Please note you will need to attend a New Member Orientation before activating your membership, and you will need to obtain certification in each shop you wish to use. New Member Orientations are free and scheduled at your convenience, while certifications range in price and are regularly scheduled.

 

How can I pay my dues?

We prefer credit or debit, and will be happy to create an auto pay schedule for you. We can also accept cash or checks for membership. All returned checks will incur a $25 NSF fee.

 

Do you offer gift certificates?

Yes. If you would like to purchase a gift certificate online, please visit this link. If you would like to purchase a gift certificate over the phone,  please contact the front desk at (713) 808-9708 during business hours.

 

Can I just use your facilities for one day?

Yes. Our current daily access rate is $20/day. Please note that before you may access our facilities, you will need to attend a New Member Orientation and become certified in the shops you wish to use. These orientations and certifications are scheduled on a regular basis. Please call the front desk at (713) 808-9708 for more information.

 

Would I be able to drop by and just see the space?

Absolutely! We are open to the public Thursday and Friday from 1 pm until 7 pm and Saturday from 10 am until 1 pm. We give tours anytime during those hours and would love to show you around. 

 

Where are you located?

Our address is 3605 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003. We are located in Houston’s East End, next to the giant coffee factory. We are convenient to three major highways: 45, i10, and 59. By car, we are 5 minutes from downtown Houston and the University of Houston, 10 minutes from the Heights, and 15 minutes from the Montrose and Museum Districts. You may also access us by rail at the Coffee Plant stop on the Green Line.

 

Where should I park?

We have some parking available in our fenced in lot. There is also plenty of street parking available on the streets surrounding our building. We recommend parking on Everton Street or the north side of Texas Street. Those that park on the south side of Texas Street can run the risk of being towed by coffee plant security.

 

How many separate shops do you have?

Five. These include a Wood Shop, Welding Shop, Print Shop, Ceramics Shop, and Jewelry Shop. We also have a classroom, dedicated desk space, private maker studios, an organic garden, and we have recently partnered with Post-Studio Projects to offer access to their dedicated laser cutting studio to our members.

 

Do you offer classes? If so, what kind?

Yes, we have classes in all sorts of subjects and are adding more every week! For a list of what we’re currently offering, please visit www.houstonmakerspace.com/classes. If you don’t see a class you are interested in taking, fill out our short Class Request Form, and we will do our best to schedule it.

 

How much do classes cost?

The cost varies depending on the degree of difficulty and the materials used. Typically, classes can range anywhere from $15 to $250. Most of our classes are "make-and-takes", which means you will go home with something you created in class!

 

Do I have to be a member to take classes?

Definitely not! Taking a class at Houston Makerspace is a great way to check out our facilities. Members receive a 25% discount on all Houston Makerspace classes.

 

What benefits are offered to members?

Membership Features:

  •  Access to our shops during open hours (Tuesday-Saturday 10am-8pm)*
  • Free high-speed WiFi
  • Kitchenette access with free coffee bar and snacks
  • Free access to general office necessities (copying, printing,etc)
  • 25% discount on all classes
  • Access to a diverse community of makers who can inspire, motivate, and collaborate

*you must become certified in each shop you wish to use before being allowed to use that shop outside of class time

 

Do members get 24-hour access?

Members may petition for 24 hour access after a 90 day probationary period.

 

Once I’m a member, can I start using any shop unassisted?

No, you will need to become certified in each shop you wish to use before being allowed to use said shop unsupervised.  Classes that contain certifications are scheduled regularly. Members receive 25% off all classes, including classes that contain certifications, and some members may be eligible to “test-out” of shops in which they display proficiency.

 

How do I become "Certified" to use one of your shops?

There are two options for this:

Firstly, you may sign up for any class that contains a certification option for that shop in the description. These are usually labeled "Intro" or "Basic" classes. These classes are usually a 2-4 week series in which students cover the majority of tools and machines available in the shop, basic skills and techniques necessary to use tools and machines, and intense safety instruction. Not all students are certified by the end of a class - you are responsible for learning the skills and safety instructions given to you to pass the certification test given on the final day. If you do not pass this test,  you may have the option to schedule additional one-on-one training sessions with the shop lead or a qualified instructor. Rates for one-on-one sessions vary depending on the trainer.

Secondly, if you feel you are already very familiar with the tools and machines located in a particular shop, you may "test out" of the need to take a class by passing that shop's certification test. Certification tests are $35 each and scheduled at least twice a month. Please note, if you do not pass the test, you will be required to take a class that contains a certification, which are usually labeled "Intro" or "Basic" level classes, or schedule one-on-one personal training sessions with the shop lead or qualified instructor to cover any gaps in proficiency.

 

But I’ve been a trained artisan in my field for years. Do I really need to complete a safety orientation?

Not necessarily. Some members may be able to “test-out” of shops in which they display proficiency. Please refer to the previous question on this FAQ and contact the front desk at (713) 808-9708 if you wish to circumvent the need for a certification class.

 

Are there any additional fees?

You may add a private studio space to your membership at a rate of $1.50/square foot or a dedicated desk for $175/month. For more information about rental space, please visit our membership page.

 

Do you offer dual memberships, family rates, or discounts for children?

We plan to offer various memberships of this sort in the future. At this time, we only have one membership, which is for individuals aged 18+. If you are interested in purchasing a membership for multiple members of the same company, please email info@houstonmakerspace.com for possible discount rates.

 

What about pets?

If your pet knows how to use a chop saw, kudos to you for being the most amazing pet owner and trainer ever! Unfortunately, we do not allow pets at Houston Makerspace, as a warehouse is too dangerous of a place for our animal friends.

 

Can I volunteer?

Yes! 

For volunteers that want to be involved on an as-needed basis, we are always looking for on-call people to help out on clean up days at our warehouse, working our booth at events, distributing flyers and posters on our street team, helping with fundraising, PR/marketing, graphic design, sponsorship, web stuff, etc. If you are interested in this type of volunteering, please email info@houstonmakerspace.com

Additionally, we are currently looking for more Staff Volunteers to add to our Facilities, Operations, and Educational Programming teams. This position involves a six hour a week commitment, and in exchange each staff volunteer receives free membership to Houston Makerspace, 50% off classes and various other perks tailored individually to the volunteer (like business mentoring, priority access, etc). If you are interested in interviewing to be part of our team, please send a cover letter and resume to maclean@houstonmakerspace.com

 

Do you offer private workspaces or artist studios?

You may add a private studio space to your membership at a rate of $1.50/square foot or a dedicated desk for $175/month.  For more information about rental space, please visit our membership page.

 

Do you offer any facilities for marketing or business-building related projects?

Yes, our classroom doubles as a conference room and co-working space, and has often been used for small conferences, events, meet ups, business development, etc. Please call us at (713) 808-9708 or email info@houstonmakerspace.com for more information.

 

Do I need to sign up to use these spaces?

Yes. Please contact the front desk at (713) 808-9708 to schedule time in the classroom or other spaces.

 

Can I store my stuff at Houston Makerspace?

Space is limited at Houston Makerspace. At this time, we are only prepared to store materials being used in active projects. If you are planning a very large project, or a project that requires a lot of space for materials, please contact us to make sure our warehouse can accommodate your work.

 

What tools and equipment do you provide?

We are putting together a list of all the tools and machines at Houston Makerspace. As there are quite a few, and we receive new items every day, putting together this list is quite a feat! Please check back for a link to the list when we have it.

 

Are you looking for instructors?

Yes! If you are interested in teaching a class at Houston Makerspace, please fill out this short Instructor Interest Form, and we will get back to you asap.

 

Can I have a large shipment sent to Houston Makerspace?

Well, that all depends. First of all, you must be a member or an instructor to have things sent to Houston Makerspace. Secondly, you should probably check with us first. Thirdly, we request that this “large shipment” be maker-related and not illegal in the United States.

 

I would like to pay you to fabricate something for me. What are your fees?

We have a variety of makers that can provide their skills and services for a fee. Please email info@houstonmakerspace.com and tell us what you’re looking for. We will do our best to connect you with a maker that can help you.

 

Do you accept material and tool donations?

Yes! If you have something you would like to donate to Houston Makerspace, please email info@houstonmakerspace.com to make arrangements for drop-off or pick up.

 

Do you accept monetary donations or investments?

Yes. If you are interested in donating to or investing in Houston Makerspace, please email jack@houstonmakerspace.com. If you would like a tax deduction, you may make a donation to our in-house non-profit, Maker Education, Inc.

 

Are you a non-profit?

No. Houston Makerspace is a Limited Liability Company registered in the United States of America. We have an in-house non-profit, Maker Education, Inc., which handles all of our educational programming and is a federally recognized 501(c)(3). For more information and to make a donation to MEI, please visit www.makereducationinc.org

 

Can I rent the warehouse for an event?

Our new location offers much less space for event rental. Some smaller events may be able to be accommodated. Our classroom, which can accommodate 20 seated individuals and 40 standing individuals, is available for rental for a rate of $95/hour. Please contact the front desk for more details.

 

Can I film or hold a photo shoot in the warehouse for my personal business?

Possibly! Call or email us to chat about it. We’ve done it before and we’d probably do it again.

 

Do you have any merchandise from artisans working in your space for sale?

Soon you will be able to shop a small selection of made-at-Houston-Makerspace merchandise in our lobby. We are also putting together a list of the members that sell their work and links to their websites so you may purchase their work directly from them. Stay tuned!

 

Do you have any sponsors?

Yes. Check out www.houstonmakerspace.com/sponsors for a current list. If you or your company are interested in becoming a sponsor of Houston Makerspace, please email jack@houstonmakerspace.com

 

I want to open a makerspace in my town. Where should I start?

Yay! We love people like you! There are some great resources on the internet to get you off to a decent start. We suggest http://artisansasylum.com/site/archiveclasses/make-a-makerspace/, http://makeamakerspace.wordpress.com/, and http://makezine.com/magazine/make-40/how-to-make-a-makerspace/. Additionally, our founder and director, Maclean Smyth, would love to offer you some personal advice. Drop her a line at maclean@houstonmakerspace.com . *December 2015 update: We are so excited about all the requests we get from people like you who are thinking about opening their own makerspace! Due to the high volume of these requests, and to balance her commitment to Houston Makerspace (at which she is also a volunteer, not a paid employee), our founder must now charge a consulting fee for all phone or in-person mentoring on makerspace creation. We greatly appreciate your understanding!*

 

Hey, you didn’t answer my question!

Email us at info@houstonmakerspace.com or call us at (713) 808-9708 and we’ll do our best to get you the information you’re looking for!

Copyright Houston Makerspace, LLC 2013.  Background images by Marisa Brodie and Alex Barber.