Laser Cutter (Acquiring)
Name of Applicant
Kwartzlab Society Inc.
Number of years in operation
Description of Organization
(23 words) kwartzlab is a not-for-profit makerspace that provides a creative, co-operative environment for people to learn, teach, share, and realize their ideas & projects.
kwartzlab is a not-for-profit makerspace that provides an environment to learn, teach, work-on, build and create next generation technology; including software, hardware, electronics, art, sewing, woodworking, metalwork, games, etc
(Ben) The following is from our Trillium Profile: Kwartzlab is a membership-driven technology & arts-oriented community workshop (or: maker space) aimed to foster a creative, co-operative community with a wide range of disciplines. Our ultimate goal is the pooling of knowledge, experience and physical resources to enable anyone, (regardless of background) to bring their own ideas and projects into reality.
Annual Revenues for the Past 3 Years
2009 (Partial year, incorporated in July)
- Other (specify): $6,792.50 (membership fees)
- Donations: $5,166.82
- Other (specify): $18,099.99 (membership fees)
- Donations: $5,490.00
Nature of the project
A 60W CO2 laser cutter with a 36" x 24" work area.
Laser cutters are a powerful and versatile tool for makers. A laser can cut and engrave a wide range of materials such as wood, plastic, paper, textiles, etc.
- very low operating cost
- easy to use
Project costs and anticipated revenue result
Costs: $4555 (product), $1100 (est. shipping)
- 4 additional members at $50/member/month (or $2400/year)
- 4 people willing to pay to use the laser cutter at $10/person/month ($480/year)
- Total of $240/month additional revenue ($2880/year)
We ran a survey on our website, and six people said they'd join the space to access a laser cutter. An additional five people said they would be willing to pay for the time they use on the laser cutter. While we don't assume that the results of an online survey are accurate, another space in Toronto had their membership grow considerably when they bought their laser cutter.
Metrics of success for this project
We are going to alter our membership form to ask incoming members if there is a particular tool that brought them into the space.
Over the first six months of having a functional laser cutter, our goals are:
- Membership enrollment: 4 new members
- Income from non-member usage: $200
- Income from laser cutter training: $100
Since a one year outlook is more difficult, we have set a range of what we would consider to be a success over that time period:
- Membership enrollment: 4-8 new members
- Income from non-member usage: $500-$1000
- Income from laser cutter training: $200-$500
How this investment will help KwartzLab long term
KwartzLab has a long-term goal to become the first certified MIT Fab Lab in Canada. The Fab Lab Certification is a combination of philosophical goals and a set of tools. The philosophy is that if you want to build a "Fab Lab ready" project, you can go to any certified Fab Lab and be sure all the tools will be there to build it.
Our primary source of revenue is membership dues, and we are expecting to increase our total ongoing revenue by 10% by adding new members. We also are looking to set up a pay-per-use system with the laser cutter, which will increase our revenues even further.
The return on this investment is estimated at 50% per year for KwartzLab.
What impact does KwartzLab have on the community and beyond
Kwartzlab is a non-profit organization that strengthens our creative community by providing tools and facilities for making things, and a venue for presentations, workshops and social networking.
Kwartzlab is a social society for individuals interested in applying the do-it-yourself mindset to various disciplines, especially technological and artistic, for the purpose of:
- providing facilities and equipment for the pleasure and accommodation of members and guests;
- sharing information and knowledge for the mutual benefit of the members;
- organizing technical, educational, and social events for the members and the community at large;
- promoting do-it-yourself, technical and artistic endeavours in the community in general.
Kwartzlab is a “maker space“, which is to say a group and a place where local people from different disciplines come together to work on cool projects, collaborate with each other, and make all sorts of things from electronic gadgets to elaborate costumes to robots to art installations to interesting software. Our ethos includes fusing art and technology and repurposing materials for our projects. Maker spaces are an emerging phenomenon in North America and have been described as a “YMCA for geeks”. Kwartzlab is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization governed by an elected board of seven directors.
Kitchener-Waterloo offers the “perfect storm” of makers who have the technical skills, artistic interests, determination and desire to create. It turns out that all of us have been tinkering away on our projects in our basements and backyards for years, but mostly on our own. With the emergence of maker spaces, we now have a sort of catalyst to all come together, get organized, and support each other. A really powerful outcome of this fusion is the cross-pollination that happens when a group with diverse skills comes together to create something that none could have created on their own.
Kwartzlab provides a machine shop (with tools for working wood and metal), and an electronics lab, and these are used every week both by members, and, during weekly open nights, by non-members.
- Ben ($100)
- Doug ($100)
- JB ($100)
- Chris ($100)
- Karl ($100)