Truckee Roundhouse, a community makerspace, opens its doors | SierraSun.com

Truckee Roundhouse, a community makerspace, opens its doors

Truckee Roundhouse ceramics instructor Maggie Hargrave helped guests create their own ceramics during the opening of the new facility on Dec. 1.
Amanda Rhoades / Sierra Sun |

Editor’s note

Look to SierraSun.com later this week for a video feature of the Truckee Roundhouse.

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More online

In 2015, the nonprofit Truckee Roundhouse was born, and a 3,400-square-foot warehouse space at the Truckee Tahoe Airport was secured, according to previous Sun reports.

Funding for the makerspeace has come from a variety of sources, including special Maker Shows in 2015 and earlier this year, as well as individual and business donors.

Memberships at the Truckee Roundhouse depending on age and whether an individual or company wishes to seek a monthly rate versus an annual one.

To learn more about the history of the Truckee Roundhouse, visit http://bit.ly/2gzXwpi — and, to learn more about the Truckee Roundhouse and how to obtain memberships, visit www.truckeeroundhouse.org.


CORRECTION (Dec. 15, 9:23 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Stephen Hoyt's name. It was spelled "Steven," while the correct spelling is "Stephen." The Sun regrets the error.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — What do a 3D printer, a sewing machine and a kiln have in common? They’re just a few of the things members of the Truckee Roundhouse can access.

The Truckee Roundhouse, a membership-based makerspace and the latest addition to the local arts community, opened its doors officially last Thursday at Truckee Tahoe Airport to a crowd of more than 470 adults and children all eager to learn what the new facility could help them create.

The goal? To give artists, makers, crafters — and anyone else interested in exploring what they can create — a space to learn and work.

“Many years ago, before I met the folks that are on the board of the Roundhouse, some friends in the community and I were lamenting the loss of shop class in schools,” said founding board member, treasurer and woodshop lead Grant Kaye. “And we thought, you know, what a great idea for there to be a makerspace in Tahoe, to basically offer what’s missing from schools.”

But it was a long time until that idea came to fruition.

Kaye entered a maker’s competition in 2011, in which contestants teamed up and had 72 hours to create something from a pile of parts.

Even though his team lost, Kaye met a number of inspiring individuals, including some from TechShop — a chain of membership-based workshops that helped influence Truckee’s own new community workshop.

“I was really fired up about bringing a makerspace to Truckee … It was a great idea, but it never really coalesced,” he said. “The right people weren’t around.”

That is, until recently. Kaye said when he met the people who became the Truckee Roundhouse team, they were able make the idea happen in Truckee.

“It’s been overwhelming — the support from the community,” he said. “It wasn’t me or anybody else that did this, it’s everybody together.”

Board member and technology shop lead Stephen Hoyt said one of his focuses will be teaching people how to rebuild and repair things in the shop, rather than just throwing them away.

“What we’re going to be doing is teaching people how to use electronics,” he said. “And instead of just throwing away things, actually being able to go and repair things and/or build things.”

Hoyt said the shop has received a lot of donations of old parts — things like a DVD player, an old door lock and cellphones are just some of the things he hopes to show people how to reuse, or utilize for parts.

Hoyt said there’s also a “whole fleet of 3D printers” that will allow people to design and create things. He’s hoping the Roundhouse will be able to offer robotics courses and a design space in the future.

“Everything is the Internet of things, so we hope to be a part of that,” Hoyt said.

Kaye said he also hopes the space will help the local economy.

“The larger vision with the Roundhouse is we want this to be a place where someone with an idea can come in and create and build a prototype that they can sell as the basis of a business, that they might hopefully create here in Truckee, hire some employees, and bring some more diversity to our economy,” Kaye said.

That being said, there’s a fine line between running a business out of the space and exploring one’s own creative hobbies.

The roundhouse does have a commercial use policy, which, according to a Dec. 4 email from board member Emily Vitas, states: “While we support and celebrate incubation and entrepreneurship in the space, it is not a place for people to run full-scale business out of. Out of respect for local small businesses and to ensure shared use on machines, we charge hourly rates for use of certain machines by members wishing to make larger quantities of items to sell.”

The policy will ensure every member gets his or her fair share of time using shared materials and space.

In addition to woodworking and technology, the Truckee Roundhouse also currently offers ceramics, textiles and a metal shop. The space is located at 12116 Chandelle Way, Suite E3, Truckee, and it is open from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.