Baltimore’s Open Works Is Building a Mobile Makerspace

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Open Works is a Baltimore non-profit with a noble mission: “to make tools, technology, and the knowledge to use them accessible and affordable.” But the group found there is a drawback to pairing “centralized makerspaces and decentralized audiences.”

In a blog post at Make:, Open Works’ Will Holman describes the difficulty of getting students at resource- and time-strapped schools access to their lab. So now they’re partnering with the Neighborhood Design Center to transform a Ford Transit 150 into a mobile makerspace:

It has about 4′ 6″ of stand-up room, and a cargo area that can fit a little bit more than a full-size sheet of plywood. Standard features include plentiful tie-downs, LED interior lights, and rear doors that swing past 180 degrees. We are having the dealer add in a fold-up cargo ramp (originally configured for wheelchairs), vinyl graphics, security “hockey pucks” on the doors (for additional padlocks), and a security wall between the cab and the cargo area.

The van will be equipped with a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and a CNC — a machine which uses a computer to precisely control tools. The vehicle will fit nine modular plywood work stations on wheels which can be easily brought into classrooms or used outdoors.

Read more about the work-in-progress at Make:.


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