The Makerspace was born out of a need to be able to use machines that you don't normally have at home, either because they are too big or too expensive, or because they make too much noise or are otherwise impractical in the home.In Leiden, space is a scarce commodity. Few have the luxury of a workshop at home. (Good) equipment is expensive to buy and is usually used sporadically by an individual. It is more sustainable to buy high-quality tools that you share with peers. The idea of shared ownership of stuff caught on and as such, the makerspace is an outcome of the "shared economy." But beyond the economic benefits of a shared workshop with shared tools, there are pluses on a social and cultural level: The makerspace is a 'safe place' for people who can't sit still or with the urge to make. It's an outlet for an overactive brain. Whether it's a side table or an automatic controller for your pond pump, 24 hours a day you can go to the makerspace to focus your mind (remember though: you're not allowed to make any excessive noise between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.). It also appears to satisfy people's need to talk to others about their project. Exchanging thoughts about it creates new ideas for better solutions. The combined knowledge and expertise of all the other participants creates a special force that allows everyone to make things that were otherwise unthinkable.
As a participant, you can work on your own or collaborative projects in the MakerSpace. You can work alone or together with other participants. Very often, there is someone with just the right experience or knowledge to help you get ahead or you can share your own experience with others. For example, you can learn 3D printing and laser cutting, programming, or learn to work with electronics by asking questions or by joining a workshop.As a participant, you have: