Making things is fundamental to being human. When you stop to think about it, we’re not the strongest species on the plant, we’re certainly not the fastest nor do we have the best endurance … if fact our physical characteristics are impressively average. But, we are really good at one thing – making tools. And, if you are going to make tools, you’re going to need a place to do it, a Makerspace.
There is a movement afoot. The Maker Movement which is an explosive resurgence of, basically, making things yourself. Its popularity is likely due to the fact that we’re hardwired to make things. And, as humans, we are the best at doing it.
At Mako, many of our clients are Makers. Not only do they come up with an idea but they undertake (and enjoy) the unique journey of making physical things. They undertake this challenge and construct a prototype to the best of their abilities. Often, they have gone as far as testing it and showing to their friends and colleagues.
This process has given them the confidence and desire to move onto the next steps of the product development journey. Creating a viable business with their product.
To do this, they decide to bring in the help of professionals. MAKO is that team of professional designers, researchers, engineers and product managers that make it happen. That’s what we do every day at MAKO – we make inventions and ideas a reality – and we couldn’t be more honored to be entrusted with that responsibility.
Before you get to the stage hiring a team of professionals, and if you are a Maker, Tinkerer, Hacker or just want to see what you make; then you will need access to tools. You will need to Tool-Up with access to wood, metal and electronics tools, textiles, 3D printers and laser cutters, just to name a few. You will benefit from a community of like-minded Makers who can make it fun, teach you how to use these tool and even mentor you.
Thankfully, in response to the resurgent maker movement, affordable maker spaces are springing up everywhere. Below is a listing of the maker spaces in Toronto, in and around our Canadian offices. If you live close by, these spaces are here for you to gain experience and confidence.
When the time comes that you want to bring in the big guns and make your idea a viable product business, you know where to find us.
The Top Makerspaces in Toronto
With three locations in Toronto, the Toronto Tool Library (TTL) is a Makerspace and social innovation project. Their Makerspace on Toronto’s east side is an innovation and technology hub with everything you need to realize your projects. TTL boasts a fleet of 3D printers, an open-source laser-cutter and a full wood shop. TTL also offers free skills training with their in-house experts.
A Makerspace and a sharing economy project rolled into one, TTL promotes the virtues of access over ownership. Borrowing membership gives you access to their entire library of tools for loan from 3-7 days. You can borrow anything from a pipe cutter to a lawnmower. TTL truly brings resources to the community and they have the numbers to prove it – with over 5,200 members they have loaned over 70,000 tools to their communities. Also, the TTL has partnered with the Toronto Public Library where Torontonians can borrow books and tools under the same roof.
A Makerspace, coworking office and startup incubator, MakeWorks’ facility is a sprawling 10,000-square-foot multi-use facility at College and Dufferin that was once a shoe factory. They call themselves a “shared R&D lab” for new startups and businesses of all kinds. Their tech-focused MakeLab features 3D printers, a laser cutter and prototyping equipment. Ayah Norris of Indiegogo (a MAKO partner) says, “Makeworks really is the workspace of the future. There’s no place like it in Toronto.”
With a decided software and electronics slant, Hacklab.TO is Makerspace for those whose project might include circuit design or required software programming. They even have a biological department should your project call for blending hardware with the biological …. Hack.TO sports an impressive list of shared equipment, electronics tools, amateur radio tools, maker tools and multimedia equipment. Their hacker motto, is used in the MIT sense, “We make things, repurpose things, program things, invent things, and make lights blink!”
A 2,000 square foot member-run Makerspace in Toronto’s west end. Site 3 is dedicated to making, teaching, learning and thinking about the intersection between art and technology. Their vision is to have a space that promotes a four-step cycle of create, display, teach and inspire with everything you need for electronics, woodworking and metalwork projects.
A non-profit community Makerspace providing access to high tech tools and learning opportunities to create. STEAMLabs anchors the ground floor of the new 64,000 square foot headquarters of the Centre for Social Innovation. A place where “Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math can all be used to invent the future”. STEAMLabs provides access to the tools of digital fabrication, coding, hands-on making and electronics.
Wood and nothing but wood. The Junction Workshop is a gorgeous space on Toronto’s west-side that provides every woodworking tool you could ever need plus classes on everything from tool safety to furniture making.
Textiles as technology. Many don’t think of textiles as technology but what else is a parachute, or a kite sail? In any case, both Re:Style Studio and The Workroom are unique Makerspaces that provide access to sewing machines, textile classes, and textile education. Everything you need to for the textile components of your prototype.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!