On Saturday, I drove to Somerville to meet up with Don Blair, a former student/staff member who was offering a presentation as part of Somerville 2069: Imagine Somerville, billed as an "interactive tour of the future" at a local elementary school. Don had been persuaded to demonstrate a "robot" and talk about emerging manufacturing techniques. He brought a Morphorn CNC (or similar) and set it up to show students an example of applied robotics.
It's an inexpensive, nifty little device that Don has used to make prototype circuit boards: you can quickly and easily route out traces on copper-clad boards.
The other tables in the display were not particularly interesting, although I did appreciate the Gentrification Obelisk:
Gentrification Obelisk: a testament to those who had to move away from Somerville. pic.twitter.com/tL52Z1qg8C
— Steven D. BREWER (@limako) October 26, 2019
Afterwards, we visited Aeronaut Brewing where I tried a flight of their IPAs. It was busy, but the bartender I got was cheerful and very knowledgeable. She helped me figure out what to try and promptly got me filled up. No surprises: I liked "Louie", the American Imperial IPA, the best. The others were fine, but that one was really very good.
Just down the street from Aeronaut is Artisan's Asylum, a giant makerspace. People rent space for a "stall" and then gain access to various "shops" with tools for woodworking, laser and plasma cutting, welding, electronics, fiber arts, etc. A big part of the attraction is the focus on community and they have a nice spot in the middle with lots of comfortably-worn furniture where you can hang out and chat with interesting folks.
One thing I hadn't really thought about a makerspace was to envision it like a home-away-from-home workshop. For both young people without settled means and for older people downsizing, having a place for a workshop is really useful. And, of course, everyone could benefit from being engaged with a supportive community.
It was a long day of driving, but time well spent.