Manchester Makerspace: Where Imaginations Run Wild

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Master woodworker Dave Belser shows off some handiwork to members of Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.) of Wolfeboro, exploring how to launch a Seacoast makerspace.

Join them every Monday from 6-8 p.m. for Open House

Getting her grooves on: Novice wood turner Debra Syrene is learning how to master the lathe so she can create wooden pens and other crafts.

MANCHESTER, NH – Debra Syrene is working on getting her grooves on – she’s a novice wood turner, and she’s mastering the art of transforming a square hunk of wood into something more shapely and svelte. She employs a small hand tool to add grooves to the wood as it spins in the lathe, something she will transform into a pen, or maybe a perfume holder, for the business she and her partner have grown.

“When my partner had open-heart surgery I started making the pens, and I thought it was something I’d like to learn more about,” says Syrene, who is part of the Guild of NH Woodworkers, a group she never would have joined if not for the confidence and street cred she’s gained from being part of the Manchester Makerspace.

Turning a square into a round: Detail of wood turning piece Debra Syrene of Manchester is working on.

Although she’s among only a handful of women who are so far taking advantage of the Manchester Makerspace, she feels right at home, among her 40 or so fellow “makers,” aka creative types. They are computer geeks, metal tinkerers, woodcrafters, thought leaders, crafters and inventors, all interested in more than just making stuff.

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It’s about being a community of creative types, says maker Daniel Bérubé, a filmmaker and huge proponent of the creative arts.

His vision for the industrial space on Granite Street is to fill it with like-minded makers, and to nurture relationships with local organizations. Thinking outside the box is pretty much a requirement for makers.

The newly revamped website should make it easier for everyone to connect with what’s happening at Manchester Makerspace.

Whether you’re a dedicated computer geek with an urge to program, or a fine artist looking for a creative corner, there really are no prerequisites or guidelines when it comes to who should join, says co-founder and vice president Steve Korzyniowski.

Jason Martin of Chichester is using a 5×10 space to rebuild his 1999 Honda CVR.

A self-described tinkerer, making is in his DNA – his mother worked in Waumbec Mills during WWII making parachutes for American soldiers, and his dad was a a machinist. When he’s not overseeing the Makerspace, he’s in business development for metal fabricators Macy Industries in Hooksett.

Currently there are about 40 paying members. Cost is $65 per month with discounts for longer-term commitments. Each “shop” – education, wood, metal, automotive, prototyping and electronics – has an officer assigned to it, for oversight and managing a small budget for incidental supplies.

Makers can pay a little extra to take over the automotive bay. Currently this engine is being rebuilt by the owner.

Corporate sponsors include Dyn, Fairpoint, and Autodesk.

Near the entrance there are some member-made creations – a vintage video console comes alive, thanks to the installation of a Raspberry Pi, which is a single-board computer that enables the console to play any number of classic video games. 

As Korzyniowski explains the spirit of the space, he runs down the collective of people currently involved whose interests and expertise run the gamut – a computer security specialist, software expert, education technologist, machinists, woodworkers and metal fabricators.

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He stops to pose next to a giant horse head he made, his first attempt at chainsaw wood carving.  “I used a horse head chess piece as a model and cut it from a dead spruce tree,” he says, with unmasked pride.

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He leads the way on a brief tour, par for the course on any given #MakerspaceMonday night, when they open their doors to the Makerspace curious, to check it out and imagine the possibilities.

Chris LaFave imagined these tiny toasts, cut by a programmed laser cutter, would make cool earrings.

There are classrooms and a 3D printing room, which will soon house their laser cutter. In a larger open space there are several vintage lathes, band saws and drill presses for both woodturning and metalworking, with a Bridgeport vertical milling machine and a CNC plasma cutter in the works to secure for the Makerspace.  There’s also an occupied automotive bay, a half-built motorcycle, and the skin and bones of a Datsun 280Z, which owner Jesse O’Brien is rebuilding in hopes of driving it up Mount Washington. In fact, he’s chronicling the process with a YouTube series, called Driven Daily. It motivates him, and it helps to promote the Manchester Makerspace.

Future plans include renting out locker space and shelving so makers can make themselves at home, and lock up their tools or projects when they aren’t in the middle of formulating or tweaking.

The next Makerspace Monday is Feb. 27, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Manchester Makerspace36 Old Granite St., Manchester. Follow them on Facebook.

About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!