Don't make me make a rule!

I tripped upon this today and thought it very useful to see how another makerspace works.


Their Makerspace is 40,000 square feet.

Our Makerspace is ~36,000 square feet

Their Makerspace (as of the taping of the video) has ~400 members.

Our makerspace has ~2,000 members.

Imagine how much easier it would be to administer a makerspace with 400 members.

So, what’s their secret sauce? Here ya go:


With that kind of pricing model I’d never be able to afford DMS ever again let alone materials for my projects.


And yet, they flourish.


The median household income of Somerville Massachusetts is also ~14k higher than that of Dallas & 7k more then Ft Worth. Maybe they can afford to pay more :man_shrugging: I also wouldn’t call 400 flourishing if we are a basis for comparison. Are they successful in keeping afloat, sure. They’ve captured the upper income folks that fall within the maker community and have priced everyone else out. That’s their secret sauce


And the cost of living adjustment in that metro area is…

I don’t disagree that they are pricing out some groups. Merely stating that it’s far easier to manage ‘rules’ for 400 members than 2,000.

My point is if our prices go anywhere near theirs you’ll get your easier to manage population by pricing half of us out of DMS. Enjoy all the empty space…


Seems to work well for them.


I would like a 200 sq ft studio/place to call my own. That would be awesome.

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With the pricing a bit on the steep side and the fact they have only 400 members, I wonder if they have similar cleanliness or tool breakage issues? I can not truly understand why we have all the issues, my parents taught me to respect tools and clean up after myself. I guess I’m just in the minority club.


The pricing and their structure also lends to a different dynamic. Full time employees and limited hours where members on cheaper plans can come in and work under supervision probably deter a lot of messes left, broken tools not reported, and tool use by people who are overconfident in their abilities.

The day passes and open to the public classes also likely limit the people who are occasional users or are simply curious about a particular tool. This limits issues of people who take training 6 months ago, forget it, and come back and use a tool without remembering the procedures they were taught.

It leads me to assume that anyone who’s willing to spend the money to have the same access DMS gives (nearly 4x our rate) is probably skilled in some area, looking for a shop to use, and going to make use of it on a consistent basis. I think if we were to look at DMS Members and categorize who’s responsible for the broken equipment, messes, destroyed consumables, it’s probably not those people.


The low price point is both the best and worst part of DMS. It’s why I joined but it’s also why for a period there were half a dozen homeless people squatting at the space for months and some for years. They probably wouldn’t have paid $350 a month to do that but they sure did at $35 a month. Well, one of them was paying $0 a month as it turns out.

There’s definitely a place in the market for $50 a month and I’m glad we’re able to offer that (or $60…). There’s also a place in the market for $100, $200, or more a month. I would happily pay more if it meant I could reliably find hand tools, have more regular training classes, be more likely to find an open worktable on a weekend, have other members vetted or least leaders vetted, have more janitorial services, have better building maintenance, etc.


I completely agree. If I could afford to pay more and also get a better space I would. But I’m also content to pay what I do and know that I’m not scraping the barrel for monthly dues, mostly because it’s the reality of things and I know I can’t afford more.

They’re charging $3.40/sqft/month, which comes out to ~$40/sqft/year, which is on par with Class AA office space in Uptown. Not sure if I want it at those rates.

There are 1000 sqft warehouses that you can rent out near DMS for $800 a month on 6 month leases, that would make a lot more sense.

That 800 a month gets you floor space and walls. What about electrical, internet,…tools? Clearly there is added value of renting inside a makerspace than just floor space.


Their class fees are (IMO) fairly steep - Instructors get “about half” of the tuition.

  • Photography studio basics, 3 hours, $125
  • Metal lathe, 2 hours, $160
  • Bridgeport Mill, 2 hours, $160
  • Miter Saw, Bandsaw, Jointer, Planer and Sanders, 2.5 hours, $160
  • Intro to Machine Learning, 2.5 hours, $100
  • Screenprinting, 3 hours, $95

They ask private lessons to contribute 25% of their revenue in exchange for using the facility.

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I have been looking around at other maker spaces in other states and Texas and their prices appear to be inline with those other maker spaces especially when you look at cost of living. DMS is the only one with in my opinion really low rates. Here is Houstons Makerspace wood working required intro class. DMS similar class is $35.

TXRX labs Houston

Wood working I: Woodshop Tools $110

This workshop offers a technical and hands-on introduction to proper setup and safe usage of all of the stationary woodworking tools available at TX/RX Labs including: table saw, miter saw, jointer, planer, router table, bandsaw, drill press, sanders, & more.

Basic tool operation and safety is covered while students participate in hands-on milling and shaping the provided hardwood rough lumber into a cutting board to keep for generations.

This workshop is for all experience levels, but aims to prepare those looking for technical instruction to inform their next steps in beginning to build projects out of wood.

After completion of this workshop, members that want to be checked out in the wood shop should come to studio hours until approved to work in Wood Shop without guidance.

  • Fee Notes: all materials included

Requirements: closed toed shoes, no loose clothing. Participants must be 18 or older to attend.

I frankly feel like at their prices I would just be better off buying my own tools and building my own little workshop at home. ~$1200(plus more if I count Ben) per year can go towards a lot of tools. I don’t use very many of the expensive tools at DMS.


I think this is also a problem of location. In Dallas it is easy to find large spaces. You may even have a garage or shed on your land in in the suburbs that can work as a Shop. But if you want to live in a larger more densely populated area this becomes price prohibitive. The culture around the Artisans Asylum is also very different than that of the DMS. If you are paying big bucks you can be held to a higher standard or at least expect to respect the thing you pay much more for.

What the DMS has is special and almost if not completely impossible to find in other larger more populated cities. But the drawback are their own. I am currently living in LA where I am paying much more for a community wood shop the member count is much lower and the space only around 15k sqft but also I have never show up and the place be a mess and the classes that are much more expensive are much more detailed and teachers can actually make some money by teaching there without it having to be a second full-time job.

I think both models work and in Dallas where it is pretty easy to get space high prices don’t make much since. But If there was a collection of professional artists and craftsmen that wanted to have some place that was less crowded and offered personal space to work It could make since as well. There is a reason there are multiple brand and grades of most products it is because usualy one size and shape of shoe doesn’t fit everyone.


I was a member at the Hackerlab in Sacramento which was at $100/month for most of the time I was there. They also had maybe 1/3 of the members on reduced student rates.

One of the things they did really well was have support from other entities. The internet and was provided by the local provider free if I understand correctly. They also partnered with a local community college and local govornment to provide funding and grants.

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