Making dreams come true

RHIANNON MCCONNELL
Last updated 11:35 08/02/2013
Makerspace
RHIANNON McCONNELL
Hand up: Wellington Makerspace owners Steve Almond and Lee Bennett want their new community space and mobile unit to encourage the creation of products and businesses.

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The Wellingtonian

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Two Wellington business partners are setting out to help at-risk children and struggling communities.

Lee Bennett and Steven Almond, owners of Wellington Makerspace, are putting together a mobile unit that will enable people to make for free the things they see in the movies.

Makerspace offers a place for people to create and learn skills such as 3D printing and laser cutting.

The pair's permanent site in Vivian St opened this week.

Mr Bennett said he wanted to remove the barriers for people who could not afford to learn how to design and create products.

"I have a theory, you can either help kids who are a little bit at risk when they are young or you can pay for them in prisons when they are older," he said.

Mr Bennett said one of the children he talked to asked him how much a skateboard would cost to make and he told the boy about $1000.

After the boy expressed surprise at the high price, Mr Bennett explained they would not just make the skateboard, but also make all the parts to make more skateboards.

"The penny dropped for him and he's like: 'So I can make 100 skateboards and sell them at x number of dollars'."

Mr Bennett and Mr Almond are fundraising to deck out a mobile unit with all the necessary equipment, which will include a portable laser cutter and 3D printer.

Makerspace has a design consultancy to bring in profit, but the upstairs space in their office is an area dedicated to the community.

Mr Bennett used to work for Weta Workshop and while there he realised anybody could do the work he was doing, buy all they needed was a chance to learn the skills.

The entrance is a giant rock wall recycled from Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, with finger recognition to open the door.

Mr Bennett said he hoped the upstairs area encouraged people to build the things they had always dreamed of.

"Wouldn't it be great if every university student thought about creating a job instead of just wanting a job?"

Makerspace offers casual day memberships for $40 or monthly memberships for $99.

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- The Wellingtonian

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