Makerspace Workshop Set to Open on Iron Range

Baihly Warfield
June 13, 2017 10:00 PM

You can't miss it. The construction yellow home of the Iron Range Makerspace off Highway 169 in Hibbing is set to open this Saturday. 

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Andrew Hangemon, the owner, said a lot has changed since he bought the old VFW Post 8510 building in December

"We've gone through a major remodel of the entire building. We put in over 2,000 hours just in volunteer help," Hangemon said. 

He said more than 60 people have helped put the space together. 

"It's been amazing to see how much has come from the community," Hangemon said. 

There is about $500,000 invested in Iron Range Makerspace, much of it through grants and donations. Basically, it's a giant workshop to help people create any project they dream up. 

"We've got a sheet metal bend or break combo, we've got a 4x8 plasma cutter, a 4x8 CNC router," Hangemon listed some of the machines and equipment the Makerspace provides. "We've got a automotive lift. We've got a gantry crane so you can pull your engine out."

Plus, he said there are quilting machines, a 3D printer, screen printing equipment, a laser engraver, commercial kitchen and even a recording studio. 

Hangemon met Betsy Olivanti, a business consultant with UMD, when he was studying at Mesabi Range. He went in for an appointment to talk about the idea for Iron Range Makerspace, and they helped him with some market research before a "Big Ideas" competition. 

"He was really talking a lot about entrepreneurs," Olivanti said. "And we realized that we had an opportunity to provide some services for entrepreneurs that would come in here and talk to Andrew right at the Makerspace."

Olivanti said when the Recharge the Range initiative began last year, they felt the Makerspace fit right in. 

"Every time somebody would say, 'This is a great idea,' Andrew and I would think, And that's what happens at the Makerspace," Olivanti said. "The area is ready for it." 

UMD's Center for Economic Development will work with makers interested in starting a small business to help them learn skills they need to be successful. They got a small business grant to provide reduced membership fees and training for free. 

"The Makerspace is a platform to makers and tinkers here who just want to come build something one off," Olivanti said. "But then if you decide that one off is really a business idea, then the Entrepreneurship Center will come in and help you take that idea and make it reality."

There is an orientation fee of $100 when you decide to become a member of Iron Range Makerspace. Then the monthly membership fee is $40. 

The grand opening, which falls on National Maker Day, goes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.


Baihly Warfield

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