Do you like to Tinker? Does your concept of “Hacking” reach beyond just software? You might be part of a burgeoning movement of Makers. Part gear-head, inventor, techie, and artist with a dash of mad scientist. Makers tend to like to get their hands dirty and fabricate projects rather than shelling out the big bucks for the store bought equivalent. We resent being engineered out of the design process. We thrive on figuring out how things work and piecing together disparate technologies into something new . . . making it our own.

If this sounds like you, we would love to hear from you. We strive to be an open door community bent on conspiring with creative, hands-on people. We are actively growing and looking for bright ideas as we mature as an organization. Get in early and help as we build the groundwork for what should be a Huntsville institution for years to come. We guarantee you could make a difference and maybe find a family and a home.

On the origin of Makers Local 256

The organization has its genesis around the time Tech Shop in San Francisco opened and it was determined that something similar could be done locally without so much of the cost. Soon a wiki was formed where ideas and projects began to get committed to something more than memory. In late October 2006 the first meeting was held. This group of friends continued meeting nearly every weekend, working on projects and discussing new ideas. Much debate was given toward a name before finally settling on Makers Local 256. A name both reflecting who and where we are. In 2008, the question was raised of how much money everyone could pledge monthly for a year toward getting a physical space, a method we still use today. We moved into our first space of a humble 750sqft a few months later. During our first year we managed to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and double membership beyond the original ten members. Due to this growth and discovering what the old space was lacking, a new space of 2,500sqft was located in April 2009. An even larger space was needed by May, 2011. A 4,000 sqft shop was found that was cheaper, had an insulated office and kitchen space (making for better winter and summer project work), and has since been the current location. Makers Local 256 now sports a membership of over forty makers and continues to grow.

The Future

We don’t know the future, but we know our dreams and we know our hearts. We have wide eyes and open minds. We see Huntsville as an environment disproportionately advantaged for some serious synergy. There are few places outside of this area which have a more fertile concentration of the “right stuff” required to make this epic. When our environment is combined with a larger perceived shift in our societal relationship with technology, thrift, DIY, repurposing, green tech and community involvement . . . well, that is the making of a movement. In the broadest strokes we see a community hangout and fab shop where projects are likely to be developing at any hour of the day, classes taught to the public encouraging people to break the seal and void the warranty, learn to solder or learn to code, banks of computers doing our bidding and cool tools and toys in every direction; welding, woodshop, servers, switches, coils, machining, molding, pulleys, pendulums, silkscreen . . . steam-punk fire-breathing robots. Ultimately, we are just searching for a way to “make” life . . . ours.