The DIY revolution takes hold in the Valley’s varied “maker spaces.”

Making It

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Valley News Issue: March 2017
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“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. Make.” That was the advice film and television writer/director/producer Joss Whedon famously imparted to would-be creatives in a 2009 Hulu blog Q&A that went viral. Valley dreamers and doers are taking the directive to heart and embracing their inner Ralph Waldo Emersons – or at least their inner Ron Swansons – and putting some elbow grease into crafting more creative, self-sufficient lives. They’re woodworking. They’re developing machine prototypes. They’re baking organic chia scones. These craftspeople, artists and “makers” are doing it themselves – with a little help from Valley maker spaces, which provide physical space and resources.

Established: 2016
The Rundown: Gilbert Renaissance man/entrepreneur Joe Johnston’s latest venture weaves together his life’s work so far: creating the kinds of businesses and communities he wants to support and live in. In this “Craftsman Community” housed in the Johnston family’s restored Quonset hut, 11 Arizona makers (including Johnston himself) craft and hawk their goods, from Brandon and Katie Young’s Lettercraft wood art to Chad and Erin Romonoff’s healthy fare at The Uprooted Kitchen.     
Good for: Artisans and craftspeople producing fine food, drink and handcrafted goods the old-fashioned way. Currently Barnone is not accepting new makers, but maker pop-up events and artist displays are in the works.
Contact: 3000 E. Ray Rd., Gilbert, 480-988-1238,
HeatSync Labs
Established: 2009
The Rundown: This so-called “HackerSpace” is a 501(c)3 nonprofit run by a “grassroots co-op” of volunteers. It is more loosely organized than other Valley maker spaces, making it ideal for newbies to dip their toes into collaborative spaces for free without committing to a membership right away. Members do enjoy access to tools and gadgets including a CNC machine, 3-D printer, laser cutter, metal lathes and mills. Memberships range from associate ($25 per month) to plus ($100 per month).  
Good for: 9-to-5ers looking for a creative outlet beyond corporate work; weekend warriors plotting world domination with their cool inventions.
Contact: 140 W. Main St., Mesa,
Established: 2013
The Rundown: This Valley branch of a national chain is located in the Arizona State University Chandler Innovation Center and is free for ASU students in the College of Technology and Innovation who take classes at the center. Membership starts at $150 per month or $1,650 per year and affords access to more than
$1 million worth of machinery, tools, equipment and software, as well as access to any of its nine locations. Classes are open to the public and start at $39.
Good for: Makers who want a little direction and a lot of infrastructure.
Contact: 249 E. Chicago St., Chandler, 480-327-0820,
Established: 2015
The Rundown: Arizona Science Center offers myriad ways to plug into the maker community at its onsite CREATE spaces, including The Wood Shop, The Artistry Hub and The Electronics Zone. Workshops start at $40 and provide instruction on topics from sewing to Arduino electronic projects. ASC staff design
CREATE Challenges to engage newcomers in the free Tinkering Experience and more seasoned makers in the Making Experience ($10 per person, additional $5 for experience upgrade).
Good for: Families and teens – 13 is the minimum age requirement for participation.
Contact: 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-716-2073,