Paul Sobszak, electrical engineer, media enthusiast, world traveler, musician, and consummate maker, launched a Twin Cities Maker website on January 6, 2009. The community that formed through the website forums began to meet casually later in January at the Anodyne Café and then the Common Roots Café in Minneapolis.
During spring and summer of 2009, those meet-ups became semi-formal meetings. By midsummer a club had been formed to start raising funds to incorporate and open a small workshop.
In early December 2009, our community was approached by another group, the recently incorporated Hack Factory of Minnesota, who were also seeking to open a community workshop. On December 16th the groups voted unanimously to merge and to lease a portion of a space at 3119 E. 26th Street in Minneapolis.
On January 6th, 2010, a year to the day after the original website went up, we voted to expand our lease. We decided that our physical home would be called the “Hack Factory” and our community would be known as Twin Cities Maker.
Our first group project was the Spoonapult, created for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s 2009 Make: Day exhibition. While we were unable to exhibit our scale model of the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture (which is a functional catapult), we had a grand time testing it on Raspberry Island, and reworked it for a successful demonstration at the 2010 Make: Day.
Since that first project, our members have created a variety of group projects: “Bessie,” a cow-headed sea monster and crowd favorite at the Aquatennial Milk Carton Boat Race, a life-sized “Operation” game, a mural for our shop, and many other collaborative works.