Mary Elliot-Keane realized her dream of giving people access to a wide range of high-quality tools last September when she opened The Foundry.
The Foundry is a maker space. For a fee it grants members access to dozens of tools including sewing machines, woodworking tools, 3D printers and laser cutters and engravers. Employees instruct users on the machines and many people come in with an idea for a project that they need to be coached through.
“This is the place where no matter what crazy product you have in your head, you can make it happen,” Elliot-Keane said.
The space for makers at 1515 N. Forest St. opened nine months ago, but on the weekend of June 13 and 14, Elliot-Keane and her business partners are throwing a grand opening party. The celebration goes from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, and from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 14.
The grand opening weekend includes exhibits, tours, prizes, presentations, family activities and raffles for a 3D printer and other prizes.
The Foundry currently has about 50 members, but Elliot-Keane said she’s still trying to get the word out about the business. Membership fluctuates because people often join for a month or two to work on a specific project. More members would allow The Foundry to buy more tools, she said.
3D printed guitars, waterproof boom boxes and other projects birthed at The Foundry back up Elliot-Keane’s assertion that anything can be done in the 3,000-square-foot space.
A door that could be unlocked with a hand wave—that’s the crazy idea Jesten Herrild had in mind when he first came to The Foundry.
He’s building a lock for the door to his home using radio frequency identification technology, known as RFID. When he’s finished with the lock, Herrild, a Western Washington University junior majoring in computer science, plans to have a microchip implanted in his hand that will allow him to unlock his door by holding his hand up to the lock.
Herrild got a $40 monthly membership to work on his electronic lock. To make the most of his membership, he then started experimenting with a variety of other tools and projects. He’s laser engraving four glass mugs for a friend, he built a magnetic knife rack and he’s learning woodworking.
“I’m trying to utilize the space,” he said. “It’s a great resource because I wouldn’t be able to use a $4,000 table saw anywhere else.”