17, November 2015

The Times Are Changing: The Rise of the Maker Movement and Makerspaces

Manufacturing [man-yuh-fak-cher-ing]: the making of products by hand or machinery

The word “manufacturing” prompts thoughts of assembly lines, conveyor belts, and machines churning out products by the thousands. The idea of making products by hand seems almostarchaic in an age when modern technology allows for mass production; but Merriam-Webster shouldn’t be so quick to change their definition. The "maker movement” is taking manufacturing back to its roots with community makerspaces and a DIY attitude.

The “Maker Movement” refers to a growing pool of individuals using their manufacturing, crafting, engineering, and inventing skills to venture into the business world for themselves. With the rise of “makerspaces” – areas for creative minds to collaborate, design, and produce – DIYers are finding corporate manufacturing unnecessary to bring their designs to life. According to Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, “makers can now go through their own personal industrial revolution in 90 days, and can launch a company or product within those 90 days.”

Makerspaces have enabled individuals and start-ups to bypass corporate manufacturing. Tools such as 3-D printers, design software, and laser cutters have become more accessible for makers in communities across the nation. So powerful is the movement that school districts have started to embrace the value of making in education. High Tech High in San Diego is emphasizing holistic designs and creation to enable new ways of learning and libraries across the country are starting to adopt makerspaces.

Makerspaces aren’t just reserved for the west coast; the creative minds of North Dakota have the resources available to try their own hands at manufacturing. MELD Workshop in Fargo “provides the equipment, classes, and materials to makers, creators, designers and inventors to allow them to bring their ideas to life.” Similarly, Minot Public Library offers patrons access to the software to transform “digital consumers into digital producers.”

As the cost of technology continues to drop, individuals are bringing their designs to life and venturing out into the world of DIY manufacturing. If you’ve always felt the need to create, there’s no time like the present to make a move and join the maker movement. To find local makerspaces in your community, visit the online makerspace directory or contact us at

Upcoming Events

Impact Dakota Blog