Mastering the Makerspace

Mastering the Makerspace is an intensive 15-week (Yes, four whole months) course designed to familiarize you with every tool available at the makerspace. We'll focus on the nuts and bolts or each tool: what is does, how it does it, and how you use it (safely!). Each unit will have a project associated with it that you'll need to complete.

Completing all the projects by show-and-tell week will gain you the title of “Makerspace Master” with all of the rights and privileges thereof (limited primarily to bragging and making). As a “Makerspace Master” you'll be responsible for creating your own badge, trophy, plaque, etc to celebrate your completion. (Dogfooding. Its a great feeling, isn't it?)

Course Outline

(Note: Specific weeks are subject to change!)

  • Unit 1: 2 Dimensions
    • Week 1: Vector Based Design
      • Inkscape, Illustrator, Vinyl Cutter I
    • Week 2: Modding Materials
      • Laser Cutter I
    • Week 3: 2D Assemblies
      • Laser Cutter II (Joints)
  • Unit 2: Getting Dirty
    • Week 4: Manual Labor
      • Woodshop I
    • Week 5: Power Tools
      • Woodshop II
    • Week 6: Turn it up to 11
      • Metal Lathe
    • Week 7: Button it Up
      • Sewing Machines
  • Unit 3: Three Dimensions
    • Week 8: Working with Z
      • OpenSCAD, Fusion 360
    • Week 9: 3D Printing
      • Makerfarm
    • Week 10: CAMming it Up
      • Inventor Fusion, Metal Mill
    • Week 11: D-I-YKEA
      • Shapeoko
  • Unit 4: Electronics
    • Week 12: Circuits
      • Breadboard and Soldering
    • Week 13: Don't Blink
      • Arduino / Programming
    • Week 14: Pro-style
      • PCB Design & Prototyping
  • Week 15: Show and Tell


I'm not able to commit to every class session, can I still sign up?

The course is designed so that each week builds upon the next and each group of participants learns together. We'd certainly prefer if participants are able to make every session, but for minor conflicts, we can make adjustments.

I'm only interested in the 3d printers (or vinyl cutter, or electronics, etc) can I just sign up for those sessions?

In short, no. Not for this class. The concept of offering “Mastering the Makerspace” is, in part, to train groups of people who can spread their knowledge around the makerspace. We're always offering other classes on the individual tools and equipment, so check the classes page for more info. For some sessions, we may allow drop-ins, and we'll announce that here with separate signup links for the drop in sessions.

What's included?

All materials used to create the projects are included in the cost of the course (vinyl, laser cutter materials, metals for the lathe sessions, etc). The projects are designed to leave a wide opportunity for personal expression, so you may find that you want different or specific materials for a given project. Those materials would be up to you to provide (but we can provide suggestions for sourcing).

Do I have to be a member of Lansing Makers Network to participate?

Yep. As part of registering for the course, you agree to maintain a full access membership at the makerspace. If you're not already a member, this is included in the non-member cost of registration. You have to be a full-fledged member, with a key to the space in order to have access to complete projects between class sessions.

Wait, there's homework?!

Yes indeedy! The most important part of learning to use any of the tools in the makerspace is to practice using those tools. At the end of the course, you won't have just watched someone use the machines, you'll actually be able to use them yourself. (And with a little more coaching teach a workshop on using them to others!)

What's the focus of the course? Is it for entrepreneurs? Hobbyists? Inventors?

Yes. We'll be learning each area of the makerspace with a focus on how to brainstorm, design, and build your own projects. We'll also discuss what the next “level” up is from a given machine and how to think through a design with an eye toward manufacturability (where appropriate). We think this is an important step to think about even if your project is just a “one off” that you just want to put on your desk–what about the next project that builds upon your last creation?

Is there a maximum class size? A minimum?

Class size will be limited to 10 participants. Certain areas of the shop can get cramped beyond that and we want to make sure that each student gets an opportunity to get hands-on with the tools. Likely, we'll also require that a minimum number of students register as well. (Note, that if a class doesn't run because of low registration numbers, we'll refund your registration fee.)

Will I really become a master of all of the tools by taking this class?

Yes, and no. You'll be a master of using the makerspace to bring your ideas to life using all of the great tools available here. While you might not be a master in any particular tool you'll have the knowledge you need to further your own exploration in any of the topic areas (and we'll help point you in the right direction for learning with resources and connections to do just that).

Will the course materials be available online?

All of the courseware will be open-sourced and made available online after the course is complete (and for participants, immediately after each weekly session). We're committed to making this an open process, learning not only how best to use the space, but also how best to teach the space.

Can my young child participate?

Depends on how young. In any event, a parent / guardian will need to participate alongside the youth participant. (Discounts to make this more approachable are possible.) Contact us for more info.

Isn't this a little pricey?

When you consider the amount of one-on-one instruction time and the time the instructors take to prepare each session, we think this is actually a pretty solid deal. Its not for everyone though, we'll admit.

Ok, its worth the money, but I'm not sure I can pay all at once. Can I do installments?

Its certainly possible. Contact us to discuss.

I don't see welding. Where's the welding?!

If a tool is available at the makerspace, we'll be teaching it as part of this course. LMN's welding area is very likely to be up and running by the time this course happens and if it is, we'll adjust the schedule to include a session on the basics of welding.

I've never used any of these tools. Am I going to be overwhelmed? Are there prerequisites?!

All we expect you to know is very basic computer skills. (How to save / open a file, what the mouse is, etc). Overall, you're going to be fine! We've designed the course to start from the ground up. Don't worry.