Makerspace NYC trip report

My wife and I are in Brooklyn NY visiting our daughters (youngest lives here, oldest is flying in tonight) and spouses. I had some free time today so clumsily navigated the subway system and visited Makerspace NYC. Wanted to see if it’s something our daughter would be interested in or something I could use if I’m up here cat sitting.

501c3. Very cool space, lots of similarities, some equipment I wish we had, Jim the shop steward gave me a tour, then I talked to Scott Van Campen who started it.

About half the floorspace but two locations, much smaller membership (150ish) more expensive (250$/mth apparently reasonable for NYC) Geared more towards people making a living vs hobbiests. Limited hours, two nights till 8pm, the rest 10-4, closed mondays, staffed when open. Recently got some grants for job training programs. Working on a third location across the street that would have equipment plus small rented workspaces.

The City of Brooklyn originally worked with The Techshop to start Makerspace NYC but the Techshop filed for bankruptcy nationwide two weeks after opening the Brooklyn location. I vaguely remember hearing about The Techshop in Austin closing.

Covid has been tough and membership dropped. Most of their classes are one on one, for instance Mig welding is a 3 hour session followed by a two hour session then another hour covering the ancillary equipment involved. They have Oxy Acetylene at their Statten Island location and working towards getting it in Brooklyn.


They only have their shops open when paid staff are onsite for insurance reasons, I thought we didn’t have paid staff for insurance and liability reasons?

I’ve always heard that it was for OSHA reasons. Mind you, I don’t agree with that, but an employee would put a fair amount of increased “fussing” with things related to the employee.

Looks pretty interesting. $250/mo is pretty good for a co-working situation. Not so good for a hobby, unless you’ve got plenty. Granted, I understand that most things in NYC are pricey.

“It’s about the insurance” seems to be the biggest lie folks tell when they don’t want to mess with something, or don’t want you to mess with something.

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I have to say, I’m a bit envious of the size of their metal shop, LOL!

It doesn’t seem to have quite the availability that we do, but I have to say I dig the fixture table, waterjet and the curtain railing system.

As for the requiring paid staff on site during operational hours, that could have something to do with New York State liability laws because those can wildly differ from state to state.

On a complete side note, if you have the opportunity, make your way to Times Square. There’s a pizza cart there I don’t know if it’s still run by the same guy or not, but in my opinion that’s one of the best places to get a slice of authentic New York Pizza.
Also, it is a hellworthy sin if you go to Brooklyn and not go to Katz’s Deli on DeKalb for the pastrami.

There’s several other places I could mention, but I don’t think you have enough time and I’m honestly not sure if some of them are even still there. (Last time I was in NYC was about 5 years ago)


Those laser cutters are pretty awesome. They’re older models but Universal is on-par with Epilog in terms of engraving quality, power, and ease of use.

Very neat to see the welding/fixture table as well.

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Would personally highly recommend against going to times sq this time of year because it’s hell on earth with the amount of people there during the holidays(and most other times)

Would recommend Roberta’s in Brooklyn for Pizza if you wanna sit down or a $1 window slice place anywhere

Last time I was up there, Times Square is not bad at this time of the month, it gets bad around New Year’s Eve.
Which to be honest, was an awesome party in Central Park in '99, lol!

We are avoiding crowds, I was concerned about the subway but it wasn’t crowded at all.

I walked past several sidewalk Covid test sites with lots of people in line.

That cannot be an actual woodshop – too clean.

Did you happen to ask about the expense, care and feeding of their water jet?

We didn’t get a chance to talk about waterjet operating cost but I did look this up to get a rough idea, twice plasma cost, but no dross would sure be nice.

They have a lot of expensive tools.

When I priced a water jet for the space, it was about 115-120k. The cost to run per hour was about 60$

I note that members are not allowed to use the larger CNC equipment - it must be run by one of their “techs”. Makes me appreciate DMS even more!


Agree, it would take a lot of the fun out if you had to pay for someone else to make the part and didn’t get to figure out how to do it yourself. I kinda enjoy the figure it out phase, much more satisfying once you get over that hurdle. And knowing that every failed design cost as much as the final design would dampen my creativity.


Yeah, that point I really wouldn’t see much difference in just finding a prototyping company on the internet, sending your design to them and having them make it for you…

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One of the greatest features of DMS and many other of Spaces have is: 24/7 access. Start and Stop at your convenience work as long as you want without running out of time before they close.


I know it says that members get “a discount” but it says the non-member price is $100/hour for “design, set-up, and cut/fabrication time”. It’s not an unreasonable price for a commercial venture, but even if it were discounted 50% that’s a little steep for me as a hobbyist. I wonder if they want to do the CAM themselves too … Probably so. That’s the best way to prevent head crashes; but I’ll bet that’s part of what they call “design time”.

I wonder how much they pay their techs.

Plus material costs!

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Yep, without this DMS would be much less useful.

Well it comes down to renting the building, a decent size facility in ny is probably 10x what it’s cost down here so that’s most the reason I’d imagine for the large entry fee

Im killing some time waiting to leave for the airport, found another makerspace nearby, woodworking only.

Wow, makes me really appreciate our space.