Maker’s Note Subplot- Maker’s Studio

by Yun-Han Lin

I started using the current workspace in March 2019, and it finally lived up to what I have in mind after one year of renovation. In addition to my own experience, here are some suggestions from Makers who have tried different space designs!

Food for Thought

1. Spare the money and sabotage the quality.

When the workspace was first built, to save money, we built a smoke exhaustion device that can be washed with water using laser-cutting as well as tables and shelves with recycled wood pieces. It took longer than we expected, and the washing equipment could not function properly despite our trying for more than a month after the 2nd and the 3rd version. If you cannot be sure how it would turn out, you could just purchase the equipment so that you do not waste time and effort that could have been put into other projects.

The 1st version of the washing equipment, a total failure.

2. In the early stage, universality was the main focus, and tools for customized functions could be dealt with later on.

In your first studio, the placement of your tools should not be set once and for all. Make sure you use them for 3 to 6 months and familiarize yourself with the workflow, and then you can build additional accessories and spaces for certain tools or machines.

A tool wall can be both universal and customized at the same time.

3. Do not limit yourself with any sorting system

There is no such thing as the best sorting method nor any specific rules; as long as it facilitates your workflow, it is a good method. For instance, classification based on the material type in the first place may turn out not as convenient, because it may not be handy in some cases, which leads to adjustments afterward.

Suggestions for new Makers in space design

My experience many only apply to certain spaces or individual cases. The following, on the other hand, are for Makers from all walks. Some are summaries of experiences and some are ideas from a book called Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage.

  1. There is never too much storage space

As a Maker who knows very well quite a few materials, it is for sure that there are countless materials, tools, and even works to store. Any place that can be used for storage should be taken in to consideration!

2. In your sight, in your mind

One of the major points in Adam’s book is that the tools and materials in your sight can actually give you inspiration to solve problems, and seeing them reminds you of their existence and function. If you cannot stand your workspace in a mess, at least a transparent storage box is better than an iron cabinet or wooden drawer that may block your sight of the tools!

3. Countertop, desktop, and working surface

When you are working on large projects, the tools will be all over your work surface, despite how big the area is. Therefore, put away tools that you do not use every time so that they do not occupy your main working station.

Put the containers for small parts and objects on a higher surface or on a shelf, so that the station can be kept clear.

4. There will never be a perfect space design

When you are still working on your skills and try new things, your workflow changes often, and there always needs to be more working space. This is why it is better to choose a working station that can be easily assembled and torn down for constant adjustments!

5. How your workspace is presented is how you present yourself as a Maker.

Another key point in Adam’s book is that a working space tells a person’s skills, abilities, personalities, and styles. Find out what you like best and put it into practice- that is the Maker’s way!