About this project
SpaceLab aims to become the first makerspace in the Chicago south suburbs. Since we first started out as a coworking space a year ago, SpaceLab has held classes, workshops, and events that educate the public in next-generation technology and traditional trades and crafts.
The second industrial revolution saw a shift from local manufacturing to overseas companies. Our goal with this Kickstarter is to become a community space that empowers people to learn skills in manufacturing and technology, and trains the next generation of creators to make things right here at home in the south suburbs of Chicago.
As SpaceLab has grown over the past year, so has our identity. From our humble beginnings as a small workplace, we've now filled our space with a soldering station, CNC mill, classroom, and other tools. We've also become a local hub of learning and technology, with support from the Mayor of Mokena, The Mokena Technology Committee, Mokena Messenger, and several local programming and small business groups meeting here regularly.
With your help we'll be able to grow our space to better serve the community with much-needed classes, vocational, and technology training for adults and kids, all while expanding into a larger industrial location.
Makerspaces are a relatively new concept. They're places for artists and technologists, and often people who are both, to come together to learn, create, destroy, or repair things. Adults and children alike are welcome. A makerspace is a gym for geeks; a place where we can all go to exercise our minds and creativity.
From makerspace.com: "A Makerspace is a learning environment rich with possibilities. As new hardware and software tools for making, digital design, and fabrication are emerging, we’re working together — with teachers and community leaders — to place those tools into the hands of a wider audience. We’re building the infrastructure for more kids and adults to connect to a future in which they can personally change, modify or “hack” the physical world, creating things that were nearly impossible to do on their own just a few years ago. Making is about getting hands-on, using these new technologies and basic tools, to do real and personally meaningful work."
SpaceLab has two membership levels, and both include full access to all of our tools and community: 24/7.
For people interested in tinkering and being part of a likeminded community. Our Hacker Membership is $50/month, and includes full access to the space at all times. Currently, this includes access to a CNC mill, soldering station, and our classroom. In the future, this could include access to a 3D printer, lathe, and other tools!
For remote workers, small businesses just getting started, or freelancers. Our Coworking Membership is $150/month, and includes all of the perks of the Hacker Membership, plus a dedicated desk with storage space. People who choose this membership level typically work out of SpaceLab every day, as well as use the workspace.
This is the whole reason we're here on Kickstarter! SpaceLab badly needs a new location, and in order to do that, we need your help. Up to this point, SpaceLab has primarily been privately funded. In order to change that, and make it an even better community space, we need to increase our membership and get help from people like you.
We've already scoped out an exciting potential space, and it's still located in the heart of downtown Mokena. The new location would have a large front room area, two offices, a full bathroom, kitchen, and a large back garage/industrial space with a loft. The total space is about 2,200 sq/ft, or more than double what we currently occupy.
A new SpaceLab location would allow us to open up our doors to more of the public, increase the tools we can make available to the Mokena community, and have a place more conducive to making. Our current location, while serving us well over the past year, is a standard office space that wouldn't be good for typical tool and die operations.
Do you own or run a business? Interested in sponsoring a worthy cause, all while giving your employees access to a space that teaches people vocational skills? We have a range of corporate sponsorships available to you.
Bronze Corporate Sponsorship
Gives your company banner promotional space in the SpaceLab work area.
Silver Corporate Sponsorship
Gold Corporate Sponsorship
Free classes and maker access for all your employees, a company banner hung in our work area, and a mention in all of our promotions and events.
The SpaceLab Maker T-Shirt
American Apparel or Bayside (made in the USA), 100% cotton t-shirts locally designed and made. Show off your maker spirit with this shirt!
Limited Ed. SpaceLab Co-Founder Card
Etched in stainless steel, this limited edition Co-Founder card will only be offered on this Kickstarter.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk we're taking is committing to enough space and new tools that would allow/promote growth without the guarantee that membership will increase immediately to sustain the space without this cash reserve
By aiming high for our membership in this Kickstarter, we're hoping to future-proof SpaceLab. In other words, we could conceivably lose several members and still exist for a full year after this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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