2018 Conference: Grand Rapids Is For Model Makers

Grand Rapids is a model makin’ town. The APMM has dozens of members there, and throughout the Western Michigan area...

                                                                                                                      Downtown Grand Rapids Model by Tim Kelly


2018 Conference: Grand Rapids Is For Makers

submitted by Bruce Willey


Grand Rapids is a model makin’ town. The APMM has dozens of members there, and throughout the Western Michigan area. Many of them work for some of our most long-term corporate members. Some of you may remember last century when the APMM conferenced there like it was 1999 and we’re going back! There will be lots of great places to tour when we return to GR next year, including some of the shops from last time. If you were there in ‘99 you’ve probably forgotten what you saw by now so don’t let that keep you from coming again! Also, there will be the new stuff-


Grand Rapids has become a maker town, too. There are two very active makerspaces right downtown: The Geek Group



-a makerspace and STEM education center with a giant Tesla Coil



and GR Makers 

-a makerspace with a design studio.

Additionally, the community college has a Mobile Manufacturing Lab



-which contains a mini mill, a mini lathe and the inevitable 3D printer, along with something called virtual welding.

Just in case we make it down to Kalamazoo to see Newell Rubbermaid, we could look in on The Kzoo Makers



-a makerspace in the making, as it were.


The national “professional makerspace” chain TechShop is doing a feasibility study on opening another branch in Grand Rapids, which would be only the tenth or so TechShop in the country, but the second one in Michigan. Another good indication that Grand Rapids is for makers is their 3-year history of Mini Maker Faires. 



The most recent one last August ran for 2 days and had almost 100 makers exhibiting, and they’re doing it again this August. We are planning on getting local maker/makerspace help for our conference next year with more hands-on workshop activities than we can usually have in a hotel environemt. Your input on what to do is, as always, very welcome.

If you are in the area and don’t want to wait until next year or even August to “get your make on” you really only have to wait 8 weeks - Maker Faire Chicago is being held at McCormick Plaza at the end of April! Maker Faires are always full of cool technology and interesting people doing interesting demos but this one is going to be a Flagship Faire so there ought to be lots of extras that you wouldn’t see unless you went to the New York or Bay Area ones. If exposure to the wide, wide world of making isn’t enough reason to check it out (and for some it isn’t), the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo is happening at the same place and time! Now you really can’t not go!! 





So, in summary, make your plans to go to Grand Rapids next year, send your ideas to [email protected] on things you do/don’t want to see and do there, go see a maker faire and, keep up the good work! 


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  Association of Professional Model Makers Spring 2017 Newsletter



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