Collaborate Tool Drooling at Portland ADX

Neil and I were blown away by Portland Art and Design (ATX) on a tour recently. It’s a huge co-workshop with tons of shared space and storage, plus a very comprehensive wood shop, metal shop, screen printing shop, jewelry shop, and large common kitchen area.

Our host and tour guide was Sara, who did a very thorough job of explaining all the tools, rules, and cultural info. Thanks Sara!

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The woodshop has a massive SawStop table saw, manual and a large CNC router, jointers, drill presses, bandsaws, sanders, etc.

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They have a guy who’s super into taking wood scraps and making these amazing puzzle balls!

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The metal shop has a full lathe, welding gear, sandblaster, cutting and grinding tools, and a shipping container for super noisy tools. There is discussion of adding a forge.

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Here’s the back room in the shipping container:

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This gentleman has been running a upholstery business for many years and had stories to tell! Several members have rental arrangements to run their businesses out of the space.

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This is their laser cutter:

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They are working on getting a CNC arc cutter, but don’t have it yet.

The screen printing area includes a lot of tools, extra ink, and storage not pictured here:

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Another woman makes the sweet shields for SCA and other types of re-enactment fighting. They are squishy foam, but look very real.

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They have classes for everything, and mentors to help with the complex equipment. These are the results of a Shaker furniture class they did recently.

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This is the jewelry shop, which has lots of space for spreading projects out.

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Here’s the central kitchen where they do potlucks and parties.

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There were several in-progress Sprinter van conversions in the space, and many members who had worked on them. Those are some familiar curves!

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There are two main membership models. For $200, you get access to everything. For $75, you get access to the shared space, but have to pay extra for access to the various workshops on a per-day basis. Click here for details.

The whole space is amazing, and I can guarantee I’d love having a membership here. Although the full-time membership is about the same as Techshop in Austin, the space feels more communitarian and cohesive, and I’m fairly certain the fees for classes and machine time are cheaper.

There is a small possibility I might fork over the $75 just so I have a central workspace for the next almost three weeks, but I’m going to checkout the Portland Hackerspace on Thursday before making a decision. I suspect that might fit my short term needs better. If I lived in Portland full-time, though, I’d probably find a way to run a business out of Portland ATX.

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