Events

April 13, 2012

Mojave Makers Open House shows group’s enthusiasm

by Raphael Jaffe
staff writer

A new volunteer group at Mojave Air and Space Port is off to a good start, based on the interest of more than 30 visitors to its first open house April 10.

The group is sort of a high tech hobby club that provides tools, space, support and social interaction to its members.

They are part of the growing global “makerspace” or “hackerspace” or “creative spaces” groups. Their general motto might be “incubating the technologies of tomorrow.”  One flourishing group is Crash Space, located in Culver City, Calif.

East Kern Airport District generously supports them, and has rehabilitated Bldg. 82 for their use. They rent the building through an informal arrangement with Space Studies Institute, which is also their strong backer here at Mojave airport.

The district has deferred rent for the building for up to one year. This is because they are an asset to the airport’s high tech tenants, as they provide a means for the employees to use their creative energy.

The founding Mojave Makers are Michael Clive [XCOR], Andrew Bingham [Firestar], Scott Nietfeld [Masten], Nadir Bagaveyev [XCOR] and Ethan Chew [Masten].

The group is in the process of organizing as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Clive is the organizer of the group, and he summarized their mission statement as “Do whatever the members want to do. We share space and equipment to assist each other.”

Before coming to Mojave, he was facility manager for Crash Space. Many of the equipment items are his, either donated or on “permaloan” to the group.

Mojave makers tools presently include a Puma 10S lathe, a four axis Seig mill, and an electronics shop [including a scope]. They are connected to the internet at 6MBs, but a 12MBs upgrade is in the works. The PUMA lathe is an enclosed 30 hp, 12-inch chuck with a 30-inch travel machine. It weighs eight tons, and was donated by Union Swiss Manufacturing Co. of Glendale, Calif.

The building also includes a social area, an office, kitchen facilities and an ADA approved rest room.

Founding member Bingham spoke of his motivation for Mojave Makers.

“There is access to a better shop than I could put together, and the social asset of interacting with people with the same sort of interests,” he said. His planned projects include a custom computer keyboard, a solar heater for his spa, and work on a small rocket that could reach 16,000 feet.

Founding member Nietfeld is interesting in woodworking, metal working, and a mini-rocket capable of vertical assent and decent flights.

Prospective member Doug Weathers will be working on his electric car.

It is a 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. The gas engine is being replaced with an electric motor. His plans call for a 30-mile cruising range, with speeds up to 80 mph. He’s also interested in fly-back booster rockets. He’ll be working on modifying model rockets at first.

Several potential members signed up at the open house. There are two membership levels available. For a $40 per month fee, members can use the facilities whenever they are open and in use by others. For $80 per month, the member gets a keycard, so has independent access at all times. The group will be self-supporting, and donations are gratefully accepted.

Their web site is mojavemakers.org. For more information, email clive@XCOR.com.




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