When asked about the Phoenix forge, Bruce Balfour, the Executive Director, described it like,“a gym, but instead of workout equipment, we have tools and equipment” for creatives, do-it-yourselfers, and people making prototypes to have access to specialty equipment not otherwise available without having to purchase it.
The Forge has three levels of membership – student and faculty, general membership, and business membership. Students and faculty of MCCD and ASU are allowed to use the space for free. Everyone must take general safety classes and the more complicated tools and equipment requires additional training.
Bruce states that what makes this makerspace special is that normally a makerspace runs with very little staff, making it difficult for a member to get help. Phoenix Forge has focused on building a large staff of 20 who are all experts in design and the large pieces of equipment and machinery. If you aren’t sure how to build something, and there isn’t a class available, they’ll teach you how to design it and use the equipment to fabricate it.
The project and equipment opportunities include wood, metal, jewelry making, 3D printing, a gerber paragon machine to automatically cut out patterns, industrial sewing, screen printing, plasma cutter for cutting pattern in metal, an automated router for 3D designs, an automated quilt maker, electronics, and robotics.
More space is coming in the next year, including a coffee shop to help draw people in from the community and give them the opportunity to see what is available.
Also in the works is a glass blowing area, a grinding booth, a gallery area, a painting booth, and rental workshop areas that will incubate companies who are creating prototypes and products.
The most interesting project in at the Forge thus far? A student who built a guitar shaped coffin.
Make sure you put on your list to tour this amazing space. https://phxforge.com/