Tools & Crafts Center
Dallas TX

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2004-03-15 Rev. 2012-08-17,-08-31

I would like to hear from people about the possibility of creating a Tools and Crafts Center in Dallas. [But also see craft listings here.]
Crafts Centers have lots of models, including the Craft Guild of Dallas and Brookfield Crafts Center.
My models for the tool center are two fold: 
The first is the student shop at M.I.T. that I participated in when I was a student those many years ago.
The second is the shop provided at Ft. Sill by the U.S.O. for us G.I.'s in service at the time of the Vietnam War.
I understand there is a shop for community members in Ft. Worth based out of General Dynamics or one of the other big companies although I could not find a web reference. 

And suddenly I have stumbled across and visited almost exactly what is described below with added high tech
I found out about the concept in a Bloomberg Businessweek article at my Ford dealership waiting room
The Dallas version is MakerSpace and I went to visit yesterday. 2012-08-17 At the time of my visit the place was in much disarray as the very complete electronics work room had been disassembled to remove the rug and finish the floor with a smooth epoxy coat. I am fairly sure I will go back for at least a visit and probably join to gain access to the equipment like laser cutter under computer control for plastic and cloth, plasma cutter, MIG. And as I sit here typing, I am even considering whether a donation of some of the stuff in the back yard might be in order -
Image shows class/meeting/work room. Similar space to hold electronics equipment & work benches. Much larger space in warehouse behind with MIG, etc. and storage of personal projects in bins shown on floor in this picture. Other smaller upfront spaces include restroom, lounge/discussion/chair, food work space. 2012-08-31
2995 Ladybird Ln, Dallas, TX 75229, from Walnut Hill/Denton DART Station, S to Walnut Hill, E to Monroe, S to Ladybird, building on SW corner.

The M.I.T. shop in the bowels of the building had photography, serious letter press equipment, milling machines, metal lathes, and of course drill presses, band saws, and related equipment.

The military shop had a terrific photo processing setup while the craft shop more strongly oriented toward wood having hand and machine tools and an auto repair center.

If a Center is to exist with serious tools, then it must have membership limitations and training/licensing requirements.  Letting someone destroy a donated milling machine or lathe or cut off fingers in a band saw because they have not been checked out on the equipment is sheer stupidity - and the liability will destroy the center.

In exchange for these limitations and costs, members would get access to large or unusual machines that they only need occasionally that would otherwise cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.  By having a non-profit structure, the Center could receive donations of equipment otherwise out of date or tolerance for industrial use.

Welding - Gas, MIG, TIG, spot

Metal Machining - lathe, milling, metal band saw, hydraulic ram, drill press

Sheet metal - Brake, shear, English wheel, seaming

Foundry - Sand casting, metal melting

Forging - Heat treatment, mechanical hammer,

Wood - bowl lathe, large lathe, large band saw, planner, shaper

Heavy Lifting - for assembly of parts - overhead crane or engine hoist style, fork lift

To my mind, in a perfect setup, the space would have studios to rent to crafts people who would want to use the equipment but who would also sell their own products, keep an eye on the space, and attract visitors.


Dear Mr. Firth:

Thank you for your inquiry about the former Fort Sill Arts & Crafts Center. You have a good memory, as this was a popular center used by authorized patrons for several years. It included ceramics, woodworking, metal works (welding, etc)., stained glass crafts, photo developing and framing center, rock polishing, and weaving looms. Also available were classrooms used by contract vendors for special craft events (macramé, cross-stitch, embroidery, etc). At one time, we also had an area in the building where local vendors could consign/sell small, homemade craft items.

The Arts & Crafts Center was managed by the Army Directorate of Morale, Welfare & Recreation on Fort Sill (same organization that managed the clubs, library, swimming pools, gyms, auto crafts, etc). However, the Arts & Crafts facility was closed in 1999 due to lack of patron utilization. The equipment/supplies were sold. The building is now used as a community center for a variety of activities. The Auto Crafts center is still operational in a building adjacent the former Arts & Crafts Center.

I hope this information helps. Thank you.
Cheryl C. Foster
MWR Programs
Fort Sill, Oklahoma 73503



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