While the Baltimore Foundery has been holding closed classes for members of its Meetup group since April, the city’s newest makerspace on South Central Avenue, as of July 1, is officially open.
As its name suggests — “founder” meets “foundry” and equals “Foundery” — the space is looking to be a hub of maker-entrepreneurs.
Inside the 4,000-square-foot space, which is split evenly between two floors, are hand tools (saws, hammers), power tools (a table saw, a drill press and more), welding gear and equipment and a second-floor coworking space with tables.
A makeshift foundry for producing casts made from aluminum sits in an outside area adjacent to the building. All of the Foundery is Internet-equipped, said cofounder Andrew Stroup, and 3D printers will soon arrive.
Access to the Foundery will be on a per-month, membership basis:
- General access to the tools inside: $30/month
- Half a workbench upstairs, storage space, and access to tools: $70/month
- A full workbench upstairs plus storage space and access to tools: $100/month
It’s no Artisan’s Asylum — Boston’s 40,000-square-foot makerspace — and it has the hard work of membership growth ahead of it, but the Foundery is another entry into a burgeoning maker movement in Baltimore. That movement is anchored by digital fabrication labs at CCBC and Towson University, and slightly more diverse “hackerspaces,” like the Baltimore Node in Station North, which has power and hand tools available in addition to several 3D printers.
The Foundery also represents another way a niche technology community is putting roots down and shaping the landscape of the city it calls home.
As Foundery cofounder and gb.tc executive director Jason Hardebeck told Technically Baltimore in April, the point of such a space is to help foster a new blue-collar movement updated for the 21st century, where lost factory jobs are replaced by smaller teams of people using community spaces to found hardware startups. (It can be done. Exhibit A is Marc Roth.)
After all, the Foundery’s location on Central Avenue just north of Harbor East is no accident: the eastward shift of Baltimore’s downtown is a major development project, with $76 million set aside by the city for a total makeover of a once-proud manufacturing corridor.
What remains to be seen, naturally, is whether the new makerspace becomes an oasis in a blighted neighborhood for people who can afford the membership rates, or whether the Foundery can serve dual functions: sustain itself through membership dollars, but make itself a worthwhile community institution — open to nearby residents — at the same time.