A new manufacturing center will open in the Cedar Valley next year and provide a space for everybody — from the largest manufacturers to the individual tinkerer — to build products.
Although some say the timeline for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center is a bit aggressive, project leaders say a mid-2014 debut will happen.
“I have been an entrepreneur long enough to know that timing is everything,” said Mark Kittrell, president of the Iowa Innovation Corp. “There is a national priority to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. We need to make things in the U.S. if we are going to grow.”
The facility in Waterloo will model itself after TechShop, which has opened a handful of open-access shops across the country.
The center’s stated goal is “to provide members with every conceivable tool and machine that they would need to build, hack, fix or create just about any kind of project.” These tools include 3-D printers, sewing machines, floor jacks and welding equipment. Members would pay a fee to use the tools.
The project is part of the state’s effort to expand advanced manufacturing and innovation, considered critical components to job and economic growth. Manufacturing is Iowa’s largest industry, valued at $27.6 billion.
The project will set up shop in a building at Cedar Valley TechWorks, which is already expecting the arrival of a John Deere museum and an eco-friendly hotel.
12/20/2013 | Marco Santana | The Des Moines Register
Original story found at: http://tinyurl.com/q68nye6
Many Cedar Valley regional business and institutional leaders are involved in creating a Cedar Valley Tech Shop location. The Alliance & Chamber in partnership with Cedar Valley’s McElroy Trust, is collaborating with San Francisco-based TechShop to establish one of its nationally known, membership based industrial workshops here (look at www.techshop.ws).
The project includes a 15,000 to 17,000 square foot industrial workshop that provides an array of machinery and equipment to design and make just about anything anyone would want to try to make. The equipment includes everything from the CAD stations and small format 3D printer equipment, to hand tools, to highly sophisticated water jet cutting equipment, and applicable to the spectrum of materials, including cloth and fabrics. Importantly, it delivers a long menu of specific machine and “how to” training courses, on-site, to make anyone, a “maker.”
A key element of TechShop success is community engagement and outreach. The Cedar Valley presents an opportunity to engage students, and adults of all interests with a hands-on shop environment to learn about and do manufacturing. In the Cedar Valley, our “hook” is our deep heritage and sophistication in manufacturing in the economy and our emphasis on STEM education at all levels, including the STEM emphasis of UNI’s teacher education programming, and the Iowa STEM Initiative programming.
We are currently working with the for-profit firm to secure the facilities and required partnerships. Contact Steve Dust or Cary Darrah regarding Tech Shop.