The future is what you make of it, and when it comes to the people who use Open Source Maker Labs (OSML), making is literally their future. The digital fabrication lab in Vista CA was the location of the latest NTMA San Diego Chapter meeting, where members learned about what OSML is up to.
The presentation began with a sample of what the kids, and adults, who visit work on. The mission statement of the makers who come in is to formulate an idea, design it, redesign it, prototype it, then polish the final version.
Some of the focuses at OSML are in metalworking, welding, 3D Printing, wood working, electronics, and much more. Aside from the physical aspects of creating, those who create also learn how to use CAD (computer aided design) software, and how to work with coding and computers.
One of the projects they are most proud of is their involvement in the Vulcan1 rocket launch from May of this year. As a collaboration with the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) at UC San Diego, OSML’s lab was used as a resource to do a “cold flow” test of the team’s 20-foot-tall liquid-fueled rocket.
The test utilized a steel-framed test rig, made by OSML’s Dan Hendricks and his daughter in a 14-hour project, to hold the object in place for a test of the rocket’s control valves and fluid systems. OSML also hosted a launch party at their lab for those who could not make it to the launch site, when Vulcan1 went airborne.
They had a few visitors for MFG Day 2016, including other businesses and a home-schooled family, which speaks to the future of the manufacturing industry. One of the members, an instructor from Kearney High School in San Diego County, reflected on how one of his former students, who is actually employed here at SFA as a technician, would have loved to come to this lab when he was growing up.
OSML is open evenings and weekends for makers of any age, with monthly membership prices varying from $60 a month to $140 a month. The lab has tools, equipment, work space, and other resources to bring their concept to life. Some of the tools available are CNC machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, a panel saw, soldering tools, a computer lab, and more. Membership includes (among access to tools) free classes, free parts and materials, project kit discounts, meet ups, free parking, free maker humor (as you can see in the photo to the left), and coffee with snacks.
To keep OSML thriving, as you can see what they look like on a weekend in this video, they are always in need of new members. They also would love a donation of an old Haas machine and are always open to suggestions on how to further help OSML.