September 13th, 2022 was the Grand opening for the Phoenix Forge in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona. This makerspace is part of the Maricopa Gateway Community College network and is free to use for Maricopa and Arizona State University students and faculty. However, they are also open to the public and for a small monthly fee, you can utilize their space and equipment to create endless possibilities.
A makerspace is a communal workshop that allows artists, creators, and engineers access to equipment and tools to make their projects a reality. Phoenix Forge is a shared space that provides tools, equipment, software, technical training, and camaraderie for those interested in tactile learning. Their workshop is focused primarily on prototyping, metalwork, woodwork, electronics, and textiles. In addition, they will have glassblowing and 3D printing ceramics coming in 2023.
Phoenix Forge has been open for over a year, but today they held a grand opening with tours of the facility, free t-shirts and bags, and mini-lessons on crafting using their equipment. This event was held to raise awareness about the forge and how it can inspire artists all over Maricopa County. Program Manager, Benjamin Bednarz, stated that currently there are 400 student members and 100 public members but they have the capacity to handle up to 1000 members.
The workshop is comprised of a wood shop, a metal & jewelry-making shop, a textiles area, a 3D printing and laser cutting area, and an open space for electronics & robotics. Their most popular areas are the large laser cutters that can engrave and cut through a variety of materials such as wood, acrylic, glass, leather, rubber, and metal. Their 3D resin and PLA printers also offer those interested in creating customized 3D art using AutoCAD software. The woodshop and metal shop also provide high-quality and often times highly expensive equipment. This allows those who are on a tight budget to still be able to create masterpieces.
This Downtown Phoenix creative space is free for students and public members pay $75 a month with access to 80 hours in the makerspace and 6 hours of reserved machine time. Membership is open to anyone over 18 years old and includes access to all areas of the makerspace. General orientation is required for all new members which emphasize safety, procedures for reserving equipment, and other information.
They offer classes to both members and non-members ranging from beginner to advanced. For example, they offer 3D printing basics, laser basics, jewelry making, wood lathing, wood whittling, and welding. Their full class list and calendar can be found on the Phoenix Forge website.
So if you are curious about creating new forms of art in a welcoming and educational environment, check out the Phoenix Forge.
535 W Van Buren St Phoenix, AZ 85003
Laurel Way is a writer for film, television, websites, and blogs. She is based in Phoenix, Arizona in the U.S., and has two fat cats and a loving husband. Laurel is a geek to her core and loves all things within horror, sci-fi/fantasy, and more. When she is not writing films, she is watching them, and her go-to movie snack is popcorn and Milkduds.