The other day, Corey was on the phone with the company that makes our big CNC router when the rep asked him what the intended use of this 20,000 lb. piece of industrial equipment will be. When Corey told him, the rep remarked, “Wow, that’s rather ambitious.” His equipment typically goes into large-scale production facilities, such as furniture manufacturers. I told Corey “That’s because the Foundery goes to 11”
After I finished explaining the reference to Corey, who was still a toddler when one of the all-time greatest movies came out in theaters, it occurred to us that we have a conscious bias towards selecting equipment that is not typically found in a makerspace. It’s not really about having the shiniest toys with all the latest bells and whistles, but rather looking for features and capabilities that will be most useful and productive to our most demanding members. We expect those to be small manufacturers and entrepreneurs who are looking for speed, capacity, and precision that isn’t found in consumer- or shop-grade equipment. We want to be able to support commercial production, and that means we need professional-grade equipment. The downsides can include longer learning curves and higher costs to purchase, operate, and maintain, but we think it will be worth it to have equipment that you expect to find in an industrial setting (and that’s exactly where a lot of our tools were before they arrived in our shop).
Ambitious? Overkill? Perhaps. But these go to 11.