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Trio opens community shop in Massachusetts

Three colleagues recently opened the doors to a new community shop in the Boston suburbs. Kamal Jain, John Noto and Eric Sack brought their dream to fruition last November with Lowell Makes, a shop where patrons of all ages can learn about woodworking, printing, electronics and other trades.

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Located in Lowell, the shop is organized as Massachusetts’ non-profit corporation. Funded by the founders, expenses are paid with member and workshop fees.

“Our goal is not growth; it’s to reach and help as many people as possible,” Jain says. “We want about 50 members to be able to keep the doors open, keep the lights on and keep updating the facility with better equipment.”

A membership costs $49 per month, which allows for 24/7 access to most of the shop’s equipment. A professional membership includes time on the shop’s laser cutter and 3-D printer.

However, Lowell Makers is more than a woodshop. The 6,000 sq.-ft. facility also features a computer lab, print and graphic design department, metal shop and pottery house.

The founders, all non-woodworkers with backgrounds in physics and computer technologies, have started a robotics class for local elementary schools.

“We not only provide tools and equipment, but a base of expertise, people you can ask questions of and collaborate with,” Jain says.

“Woodworkers have been enjoying use of the space to do work they cannot do in their homes due to noise or space challenges. With public schools eliminating things like shop classes and with limited access to some of this equipment even in vocational schools, the community really needs a place to learn and practice these skills.” 

Contact: Lowell Makes, 47 Lee St., Lowell, MA 01852. Tel: 798-905-8123.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue.

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