New Times, New Methods

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Kids Learn 3D Printing at a MakerSpace. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

A Place to Teach Modern Skills

BY ISAIAH FRIZZELL

New Days, New Ways
If you’ve ever heard mention of modern 3D printers, Arduino, web crafting or ancient things like woodworking or even sewing, but you don’t see an outlet to learn these in your local community, you may wonder why and how to learn these things. How does one go about building a robot, making a 3D-printed racing drone or sewing a beautiful quilt? Where do people learn these ancient and somewhat new skills?
Many older skills, like quilting or woodworking, are passed down, like an inheritance, from parents to children. Yes, that is, if the family has the time, money and space for the tools. Sewing is relatively inexpensive and something of a lost art, yet quilting, knitting and crocheting clubs exist. A simple search on Facebook will turn up a great number of them. But there they exist online, detached from the real world. You may know of some local meetups, but how many are there in Sun Valley?

Innovation In Sun Valley
Excelling at innovation is a guaranteed method for financial growth. Every day there are articles about layoffs, companies shuttering, stores closing. Where are the new jobs going to come from? What will the people who just wanted to collect a check, go home and veg out to a streaming service do? Maybe a new way of seeing the world from the perspective of hands-on manufacturing of ideas in real time, in real space, could energize and rectify some of the deficit in employment and, really, choice in what one would like to introduce to the world. Everyone has ideas but often the enormity of getting an idea from mind to hand can be a deterrent.
Learning a new skill is up to the individual. Online courses and sites like Udemy are available for a price, but this still leaves many expensive tools for the students to acquire themselves, not to mention the subtle and innovative techniques one gains from experienced teachers in a real-world scenario.

Enter The Makerspace
Why are there no makerspaces in Sun Valley? The vibe, the money, the recreation are all there, but what about the innovation? Is Sun Valley known for innovative communities? A makerspace is known, generally, as a collaborative workspace, sometimes set in schools, libraries or shared warehouses, where somewhat difficult- to-access tools such as 3D printers, table saws, lathes, fully-equipped electronics soldering stations, cinema lighting, cameras and set-building spaces offer a community of enthusiastic learners cutting-edge skills to generate new ideas for broadcasting and creating on the avant garde of manufacturing and new media.
Sometimes known as “hackerspaces,” a makerspace is almost a given for most of the bigger cities. They function for all ages, on a very simple business model, typically a membership, but there are many ways to go about it. Imagine offering a place for youth to learn things school doesn’t teach, parents don’t have time for or have been outsourced to other countries.
A quick search for “makerspaces in Idaho” reveals at least 10 in Boise, the biggest city in Idaho. What if Sun Valley had a space dedicated to tools and knowledgeable teachers? Both adults and children would have a guaranteed space for hands-on learning with advanced tools and innovative ideas in electronics, woodworking, cinema, whatever the community decided! There are ample instructors for each of these fields and the tools are often donated or purchased using crowdsourcing, bringing the price down to a manageable level. As a community-minded investor, your name on a project as a source of innovation and cutting-edge education in Sun Valley is quite the prospect.

Reach Out
If you’d like to learn more about making racing drones, 3D-printed jigs that work hand in hand with woodworking, tables, lamps, electronics art projects involving sensors to detect motion, light and sound, a makerspace is a wonderful concept for giving adults a new hobby that can easily become an industry. It’s a great way to keep kids off the streets or off the phone and away from the TV screen with the added bonus of generating revenue for local industry as well as lending a new sheen to the natural beauty and local life of Sun Valley.

Contact Publisher@woodriverweekly.com or Isaiah@woodriverweekly.com for more information and the possibility of a new hobby/hacker/makerspace where everyone has a chance to learn with actual tools the methods of media and manufacturing.