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.
Twin Cities Maker is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, staffed entirely by volunteers and governed by a board of directors elected by the membership. Elections are held once per year, in the fall, at our Annual Membership Meeting.
Twin Cities Maker is a non-profit, volunteer-driven community of artists, engineers, and makers. We help people develop the skills they need to pursue creative goals, and we provide the space and tools necessary to bring creative vision to life.
We operate a shared community workshop, located in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. We’re always expanding our capabilities, but here are some highlights:
Our shop is run entirely by volunteers and is available to members all day and all night long, every day of the week.
More than just providing access to tools and electricity, our workshop is a meeting place, where members can collaborate on projects, share and learn new skills, and enjoy shared interests together. We host special interest groups dedicated to locksport, robotics, and computing. And sometimes, we just get together and watch bad movies.
Every Wednesday night, we open our doors to the public. It’s a great time to meet people, tour of our workshop, and talk about the projects you want to build.
While running our workshop is a large part of what we do, our larger goal is to contribute, however we can, to the community around us. Over the years, we’ve sponsored middle-school and high-school robotics teams, hosted hackathons, and assisted other makerspaces both in Minnesota and elsewhere in the nation. We offer inexpensive classes to the community, so that others have the opportunity to learn, grow, and express their own creativity