New maker space opening in Lincoln mill

New maker space opening in Lincoln mill

This architectural rendering shows the future workshop area planned for Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace in the Sayles Mill complex off Walker Street.

LINCOLN – It’s the millennial quandary, according to Christopher Peterson: having a strong desire to create something, but lacking the space and resources to do so.

Two friends named Chris have teamed up to address the problem right in Lincoln with the creation of Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace, a new nonprofit aiming to foster creativity by developing a space for projects and education, where entrepreneurs and creators thrive.

It started as a place to build, according to Christopher Dark, of Blackstone, Mass., and Christopher Peterson, of Upton, Mass.

Dark, and Peterson by extension, had been slowly taking over his father’s basement workshop for creative projects, including woodworking, textiles and robotics. As the scope and scale of some of their ideas grew, so, too, did their need for more space.

“I’ve always wanted to make a space like this for a variety of reasons. My father has a workshop that I’ve been able to use forever, but not everyone has had that opportunity,” Dark said. “I wanted people to be able to share what I know, share my tools and be able to bring their ideas here.”

To address the problem, Peterson and Dark invested in 4,400 square feet of industrial space at the former Sayles Mill complex, with the intent of transforming it into a maker space where people can rent a bay to work on their projects. The business model is similar to that of Artisan’s Asylum, a maker space in Somerville, Mass., that served as inspiration for Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace.

In the preliminary stages of preparation, Dark and Peterson’s idea of a maker space is very open-ended.

“This is a place for artists, entrepreneurs, startups, tinkerers, carpenters, welders, fabricators, hobbyists, filmmakers, students and teachers … pretty much anyone who wants a better foundation for increased success,” Peterson said. “Where people who do not have the space, or tools, can come and create.”

Construction began in July, beginning the process of transforming the warehouse. To date, the main classroom has been built. It will be outfitted with a projector screen and used to teach safety courses and other classes.

When fully operational, the space will offer a workshop filled with tools and equipment such as table saws and rentable power tools. Until the workshop is complete, artists will be encouraged to bring (and leave) their own supplies and mediums.

Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace is the freshest tenant at the Sayles Mill complex off Walker Street, which has been undergoing a transformation of its own over the past decade. The string of red brick buildings that make up the complex date from 1854 to the 1940s; constructed in the heyday of the historic Sayles Mill Bleachery.

This summer, two separate developers proposed renovating vacant Sayles Mill buildings into apartments, one at 50 Walker St. and another at 90 Industrial Circle. The Sayles Mill complex is currently home to a variety of businesses, including Body Rock R.I. and Studio One R.I. The maker space will be located on the west side of 50 Industrial Circle, next to Lincoln Fine Ingredients and above a furniture reclamation service.

Dark and Peterson said if the space is still available, they’d like to expand 10,000 to 15,000 square feet horizontally when their initial space becomes filled. For now, there will be six to 10 “bays” available to members, each 16 by 10 feet. Members will pay dues in order to hold the area for their work.

“I have wild ideas for this space and the expansion,” Dark said.

His “pie-in-the-sky” dream would be to offer a computer lab or hacker space with 3D printers, a videography/photography studio and more, essentially, a one-stop-shop for people with a desire to create.

For more information, visit Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace on Facebook, or follow @lincolnmaker on Twitter.

An architectural rendering depicts, in green, the outline of separate bays that members will be able to occupy at Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace.
Christopher Peterson and Christopher Dark stand inside their second-story space in a former Sayles Mill building, which they are working to transform into Lincoln’s Industrial MakerSpace. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)