What is the Maker Network?

The Maker Network is about helping Makers and Makerspaces thrive and evolve into an interconnected ecosystem of skills, tools, resources, and ideas. We want to see the maker movement flourish all over the world, and believe that the tools to do so look something like this.

Are you looking for the right tool for your project, and want to reserve it from your phone? You can do that. Are you looking to keep track of all the tools and members in your space? You can do that too. Want to keep a record of your projects and share them with your social network? Got it. Want to find a brilliant maker to be your mentor? Now you can. You want to share what you know with your community? Check. Looking for collaborators with a certain skill set for a big project? Done.

We also get that every Makerspace is different, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution, so we're building this around an open API model, so that if you want to use the tools we're making differently, it's easy to do so and share that new functionality with the community. Makers aren't much for off-the-shelf solutions to problems, so instead we're trying to offer a robust and flexible set of tools for managing spaces, tracking projects, finding and reserving tools, and connecting with everything you need to make anything you can imagine.

 

 

“Makers are seeking an alternative to being regarded as consumers, rejecting the idea that you are defined by what you buy. Instead, makers have a sense of what they can do and what they can learn to do. Like artists, they are motivated by internal goals, not extrinsic rewards. They are inspired by the work of others. Most importantly, they do not wait until the future to create and make. They feel an urgency to do something now — or lose the opportunity to do it at all.” - Dale Dougherty, Make Magazine Founder

Our Vision

Make. Learn. Share. Play. Participate. Grow.

These are the tenets of the Maker Movement, and we at the Maker Network believe in this vision with everything we’ve got. We see Makerspaces as the emerging centers of innovation in a world desperately in need of new solutions, for problems ranging from the mundane to existential threats to our species. We see the democratization of design and manufacturing, the growth of citizen science, and the return of hands-on learning and skills acquisition.  We envision a world where these centers are networked together, functioning as nodes and synapses in an open, collaborative web.

To this end, we are lowering barriers for Makers to connect with the tools and resources they need. We are creating a platform for creation, collaboration, and education. We help Makerspaces run efficiently and in a financially viable manner, and leveraging current hobbyist infrastructure into a viable career path for independent makers. We are working towards a system for universalizing tool permissions, allowing more fluid movement of people and ideas between spaces. We want to provide anyone with the desire, the ability to find everything they need to create whatever they can imagine. If you want to make something, we want to make that happen.

We are making the curious into the capable.

The Problem

Makerspaces are typically managed by volunteers with very limited budgets. They use spreadsheets and shared calendars to manage membership, comms, bookings and payments - which are ill-suited to the job. 

Members of Makerspaces have no easy way to connect with other Makers outside their own space nor to discover and access people, resources, skills and machines in other locations to help them with their projects.

Companies & NGOs are actively trying to connect with the Maker community for learning, open innovation, recruitment and redistributed manufacturing. They lack an easy way to do this both locally and globally.
 

The Solution

By providing a suite of free tools for Makerspaces to manage memberships, machines, and money, MakerNet solves a real problem for Makerspace managers & improves the experience of their members. Our tools connect spaces into the MakerNet community, making their members and inventory discoverable.

As we connect spaces into our network, the MakerNet database becomes the global inventory of the skills & training of the world’s Makers and of the capacities and equipment of the world’s Makerspaces.

The Applications

Maker Passports - We all know that many of the tools we use as makers are often expensive and dangerous if used improperly, so it makes sense that every Makerspace requires safety classes or some level of professional certification to start using them. However, right now there's no way to take those permissions with you if you change spaces, even just for a day. 

As you use MakerNet to schedule the tools you use and track your active projects, it builds a profile for you with all the hours you've logged on each machine, the classes you've taken, professional certs, and so on. With this, your profile can become a true Maker Passport, a verifiable record of your experience and skill within the global Maker community.

Redistributed Manufacturing - One of the key challenges faced by Makers and Makerspaces right now is financial viability. There is no clear, well defined pathway from entering a Makerspace for the first time through to paying work with the skills you develop while you're there. And because of this, there's little money to pay Makerspaces their membership dues. 

What if fabrication and tradecraft jobs could be intelligently routed to makers the way that ride requests are routed to Lyft drivers? What if you could see what kinds of Maker skills are in demand, and where to get training in those skills, which would then become a part of your Maker Passport? 

Our vision for MakerNet is to connect people to the tools and training to become Makers, and to connect Makers with the people who need their skills. We see this as the most viable path forward for all of us in the Maker community.

 

Who is part of MakerNet?

While the digital platform has been in development, we've been hard at work building our analog network around the world. We know that this is a well understood problem in the Maker world, and there are a lot of folks working in similar or adjacent domains. Here's some of the amazing folks we're working with to bring MakerNet to life.
 

Google: Making & Science - We're thrilled to announce our new partnership with Google's division for Making and Science.

Nation of MakersA nonprofit organization dedicated to helping makers by supporting maker organizations; through advocacy, the sharing of resources and the building of community within the maker movement and beyond.

Global Innovation Gathering - Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) is a vibrant, diverse community of innovation hubs, makerspaces, hackerspaces and other grassroots innovation community spaces and initiatives as well as individual innovators, makers, technologists and changemakers. GIG is pursuing a new vision for global cooperation based on equality, openness and sharing. We aim to enable more diversity in the production of technology, and global innovation processes and support open and sustainable solutions developed by grassroot innovators.

Field ReadyWe meet humanitarian need by transforming logistics through technology, design and engaging people in new ways. We make useful items to solve problems locally in various sectors such as health, water and sanitation. We do this by using the latest technology including 3D printers and laser cutters as well as traditional manufacturing machines. We pass on these skills to others through training and pioneering innovative approaches to the toughest challenges. The impact of this is dramatically improved efficiency in aid delivery by quickly meeting needs and cutting procurement costs. 

Gearbox - Gearbox is an initiative that aims at improving the ecosystem for hardware entrepreneurship by providing flexible working space, shared prototyping facilities, training in manufacturing, fabrication and design as well as mentorship, investment opportunities, incubation and community development.

Ace Monster Toys - Ace Monster Toys (“AMT”) Makerspace is a 501(c)(3) non­profit member supported organization founded in 2011. We support traditional makers and craftspeople as well as hackers both digital and material. Our community brings together people of diverse skill levels by providing resources and culture to build networks; co-work; and engage in projects that benefit individuals and the community at large. The resources we develop include spaces and a wide variety of tools and supplies to support making and learning.

Ananse GroupWe’re an international consulting team devoted to open-source values and developing sustainable, grassroots infrastructure. We are compiling the most complete and up to date map of makerspaces, fab labs, innovation hubs and micro-factories in the world!

The Far Away ProjectWe go great distances to recognize and support organizations and individuals making a difference. Bring innovators and grassroots initiatives to the global stage and allow aligned communities to connect despite geographical distances. Empowering everyone who is going great distances, in their own way, to pursue and succeed with their projects.

Make Nashville - We are a collective of creative, geeky, artistic, innovative, fun and welcoming people who love to make things and have a great time doing it. Make Nashville is a member-led organization that was founded in 2012 and became a registered federal 501c3 nonprofit in 2015. Our Mission is to provide the community, training, tools, and opportunity for everyone to experience the transformative experience of making.  We want to help more people make, and to help makers make more.

College of Alameda FabLab - One of our first early adopters, the FabLab at College of Alameda teaches design and fabrication, prototyping and electronics.

 

 

How it all fits together

How it all fits together

Interested in working together or finding out more about what we're doing?

 

The maker network

info@makernet.work

Who We Are

 

The Maker Network team comes together from the challenging and intense world of large-scale art and event production. We make immersive, interactive art, we create event infrastructure, and use cutting edge and antique technology to drive interactivity. We are united by the belief that the Maker movement is one of the most vital creative movements in the world today, and that we can make it easier for people to learn, make, and collaborate with and be inspired by each other.

 
 
 
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Nathan Parker - Founder,CEO

Nathan's background in event production, project management, and large-scale art installation lead him to, and emerged from his love of makerspaces and the potential of the maker movement. An autodidact and jack of all trades, world traveler, Burner and tinkerer, he believes in the power of human imagination and cooperation, working with head, heart and hands, to make the world a better place.

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Kyle Sorus -Co-Founder, CTO

An artist and maker, full stack programmer and Burner, Kyle has a genius for designing systems that he applies to making art as well as information architecture and software engineering. 

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Matt Kenigson - Co-Founder, COO

Currently the President of Parthenon Tech (parthenontech.com) and co-founder of MakerNet. Parthenon is an Agile Software Development company focused on web, mobile, and blockchain software and integrations.

His teams have produced mobile projects (Android, iOS, iPad, and firmware-specific), napkin-to-scaled-manufacturing of electronics and hardware, online and offline education technology, edutainment devices, micropayment platforms, inventory systems, billing automation, and smart-contract backed blockchain apps.
Previously Founder, President, and Chairman of Make Nashville.