Talking recently with ADX Portland’s founder and owner Kelley Roy, she commented that about 1500 people move to Portland every month, and among these are a lot of people who are joining a growing community of makers. “There are so many people here who are hungry to learn how to make for themselves, very much into making the things for their world and to share with others,” Kelley said. For this growing creative community, ADX Portland provides a hub for collaboration where individuals and organizations make and learn.
This makerspace is furnished with all manner of traditional and digital fabrication tools, including laser cutters, 3D printers, and a full-size ShopBot CNC router which they purchased in 2015.
“The business model of our makerspace is basically three-pronged,” Kelley explained. “We have a learning center where anyone can take classes, a custom fabrication services shop, and we offer memberships so that anyone can come here and work to bring their idea to life.” ADX maintains a 14,000-square foot facility, where high-profile designers work alongside students, retirees share their knowledge with novice builders, and entrepreneurs collaborate with hobbyists. Here’s video that ADX created to showcase the space and its offerings:
Kelley founded ADX in 2011, and spends a great deal of her time consulting with the people from around the world to create makerspaces, like ADX, in their communities. Kelley has become a globally recognized leader in the Maker Movement and is helping to put Portland Makers on the international map. She co-authored Cartopia: Portland’s Food Cart Revolution in 2010, has a graduate degree in Urban Planning and an undergraduate degree in Geological Sciences.
Kelley commented that, “while the tools and the spaces are great, the power of this place is the connections that people make while working and learning here. People are learning skills from one another, and collaborating on new projects and products all the time. If there’s any ‘downside’ to this, it’s that sometimes there’s a need to encourage long-time members to not use the space as a crutch, and move on to create their own shops! It can be tough to leave the nest since this has become such a supportive place to be.”
Nurturing collaborative efforts.
ADX has been playing host to a series of team-building events for companies including Nike, Columbia Sportswear, and Autodesk. Kelley explained, “Groups will spend a day at ADX working together to design and start to build a project. They are introduced to design tools and making equipment such as the laser, the 3D printer and ShopBot CNC — they witness others using these tools — and this time spent working together provides a tremendous boost to collaboration ‘back at the office’.”
ADX is also committed to helping the Portland community educate its young people in working together, problem-solving and learning about both traditional and digital fabrication technologies. “We’ve brought groups of kindergartners, and older kids as well, into the space and it’s been wonderful.” Here’s some video featuring a project with ADX and local elementary school students:
To assist the growth of its programs for students, ADX has set up the non-profit Make It FUNd, which reaches out to corporate partners for their financial support. Learn more about ADX and its facilities and programs at their website, adxportland.com.