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Centrally-located community-oriented kid-friendly Makerspace! Mobile tinkering unit!  Tinkering for all!
Centrally-located community-oriented kid-friendly Makerspace! Mobile tinkering unit! Tinkering for all!
318 backers pledged $23,312 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Austin Tinkering School was born 5 years ago, in the backyard of our East Austin home.  Inspired by the Tinkering School started by Gever Tulley in the Bay Area (check out his TED talk here), we saw a need and opportunity to inspire the next generation of ATX Makers, hackers, and inventors. Austin has always been a haven for the DIYers, craftivists, tech-savvy innovators, and think-outside-the-box-ers and we needed a school that not only could teach skills but provide access to space, tools, and materials so kids and adults could design, build, create, as well as strengthen their ability to problem solve, collaborate, and innovate.  

Anyway, here we are, 5 years later.  We've built go-carts, roller coasters, pinball machines, tree forts, hovercrafts, 2 story waterslides, and countless other projects both big and small.   We've offered classes in arduino, robotics, raspberry pi, and 3D printing.  We've had guest Makers teach classes in enameling, video game design, concrete casting, soap making, and lots more.  We even started the Austin Mini Maker Faire (now in it's 4th year), which is a two-day, family-friendly event to MAKE, create, craft, learn, play, invent, and be inspired.  So let's just say we are ALL about the Making.

And we are SO ready to move out of the backyard and into a centrally located, community oriented, kid- and family-friendly Makerspace!  We want to bring these meaningful hands-on Maker experiences to more kids and adults all over Austin.  We also need a Tinkermobile (a truck with a dedicated set of tools and locking tool boxes) so that we can more easily bring tinkering projects to schools, rec centers, afterschool programs, churches, events, and everywhere that kids are found.  

We would like to find a warehouse, old auto repair shop, or other industrial space with a fenced-in side yard (kids need playspace and room to build big) for around $2000 a month.  The amount of funding we are attempting to raise will provide us with a $1000 per month towards rent for one year , which will ease our financial situation considerably, and will allow us to establish ourselves at the new location.  $4000 to spend on a used truck for our Tinkermobile would be fantastic.  The remainder would go towards Kickstarter fees and expenses, as well as remodeling of our new space, signage, and a few new tools.

And Boy Howdy yes do we have stretch goals!

$1000 for a welding set-up 

$2100 for a Blacktooth Laser Cutter 

$2000 for additional computers and software 

$1000 for a kiln

$2200 for a Makerbot Replicator 2 3d printer

$5000 for a desktop Shopbot

$5000 would enable us to buy a stepvan and to create a more complete Tinkermobile.

$12,000 for another year in the new space!

Kids love tinkering.  Tinkering is a great way to learn.  Through tinkering kids are empowered and inspired!  The Maker movement is booming, and Austin has NO Makerspace that is specifically for kids (and lots of other cities do already).  Let's do this, ATX!  Help us Make a Makerspace for us all!

Risks and challenges

We are actively seeking a suitable space and hope to find something that works for us in the next few months. We have had enough possibilities in our price range that we believe that we'll be able to find something that in the next few months. Most importantly we hope to find something before summer camp season. If we are unable to find a new home for Austin Tinkering School by the end of 2015, we will use the money to create a program that will bring tinkering classes, programs, and experiences to underserved youth. We have plans to create this program either way, but if we are not able to secure a space, we will put our full energy into this program.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Mad props from Austin Tinkering School and the knowledge that you have helped put power tools in to the hands of children.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A month of Making! Starting on Nov. 28/ Black Friday, you'll receive awesome projects and ideas galore from guest makers like Bernadette Noll of Future Craft Collective, Kate Payne from Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, Samantha Matalone Cook of Curiosity Hacked, as well as a healthy helping of hot tips from yours truly at Austin Tinkering School, delivered piping hot to your inbox every morning for the next 30 days. Kids projects, bath/body/home/hearth, food, gifts, and lots more! Set a precedent to Make this holiday season!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Austin Tinkering School... the t-shirt!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Free Build! Come build whatever you want. Ages 6 and up. No experience necessary. Dec. 6 from 10-12.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Tinkering Challenges 1, 2, and 3!

    Receive a Tinkering Challenge triad: 3 separate packages, each containing a slip of paper with a mini building challenge and a small assortment of supplies. You provide the glue, tape, or any other tools you might want to use. Fun, creative, and self-guided... great for gifts!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Terrarium ornament-making class. Create a miniature, living woodland paradise for your tree. All sorts of moss, ferns, and tiny little planties provided, along with other mini pretty things. This class takes place on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 pm.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    1 Austin Tinkering School build-your-own marshmallow shooter kit. Includes ingredients for one shooter, building instructions, protective eye gear, an ammo pouch, and, of course, marshmallows.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Austin Tinkering School... the zip-up hoodie! High quality American Apparel brand hoodie will keep you warm out there tinkering during the winter months.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Scan and 3D print your head... and the heads of up to 9 of your friends! It's the future, people!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    2 hour raspberry pi class for up to 6 kids (ages 10 and up) taught by ATS teacher Chris Ready (http://store.makesalot.com/).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    2 hour stop-motion animation workshop for up to 10 kids with ATS teacher Tim Ziegler.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Thomas Alva Edison and his antique technology exhibit! This hour-long presentation by ATS teacher Daniel G. Benes that will inspire, educate, and amaze!

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    2 hours of Free Build time in our workshop for you and 10 of your closest friends. Or your kid and his/her friends. 2 ATS collaborators will be on hand to assist with anything you want to build.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Austin Tinkering School... the birthday party! 1.5 hours of Free Build, Marshmallow Shooter , Dollhouse building, Bow and Arrow, Frankentoy, or customized tinkering experience.

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Design and build... your own workshop. 2 hours of a customized tinkering experience, our place or yours. Have we offered something in the past that appealed to you? Do you have a full roster of pinterest ideas at the ready that you need help with? Invite your friends or family or co-workers and let's get to it.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Mini Nerdy Derby!
    We'll bring our smaller track (16 feet long) and super-fun racecar-building activity, complete with an awesome spread of materials and all the tools you'll need. Great for kids and (perhaps even) great (er) for adults!

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Nerdy Derby!! It's like the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby but with NO RULES. We'll set up our 50 foot long track and bring our Nerdy Derby car-building activity (complete with tools and materials) to your school, party, or event for 5 hours.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Tinkering for the greater good: Donate a 5 hour Nerdy Derby, Free Build (we'll bring out our whole set up), or customized tinkering experience to the school, afterschool program, rec center, or whatever of your choice. Bring some tinkering joy to an underserved community!

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Funding period

- (29 days)