About a week ago, I went down to the Dallas Makerspace, and was able to attend a class on Blacksmithing. We started with railroad spikes, and, by hammering away, created a nail forming tool. It was mostly an accident that we even attended the class at all. My dad was looking into the Makerspace to see if he wanted to become a member, and just happened upon a schedule of events that the makerspace was putting on. We saw the blacksmithing class and thought it would be a fun way to learn more about the Makerspace. This was right before I had my interview with the President of the Dallas Makerspace, Andrew LeCody, and was what gave me the idea to interview him.
The class was not a one-time deal though; they have classes every weekend to learn how to make different items. Nor was this the only class the Makerspace offered. In my interview with Andrew LeCody, he mentioned some of the classes, let me mention some others. They have a python programming class every week, as well as classes about 3D printers, lock picking, laser cutters, 3D modeling, and other assorted special classes. Members of the space are constantly setting up new and exciting classes.
The experience was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about metalworking, and myself. I realized that I was nowhere near strong enough to do it. My hardest hit with a hammer would hardly leave a dent, while the instructor could easily work the metal into the shape he needed. I really developed a respect for the skill and precision it takes to make these things with this craft.
The class was an amazing example of how Makerspaces reach out and help their members by teaching them new skills. It is important for Makerspaces to foster this kind of collaborative learning, because it will help many people learn more about different skills.