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.
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