Not everyone owns a laser cutter, and not everyone owns a 3D printer. Flagstaff Local Works, a community workshop, will open to the public on Wednesday to offer all those interested in building things on their own or learning how to build a chance to do so.
The facility on Fourth Street will have equipment to help with automotive, woodworking, metalworking and prototyping projects. For prototyping, the facility will have equipment such as a 3D printer.
Joseph Davidson, the CEO and founder of Local Works, says he hopes to attract local businesses as well who need to use equipment like laser cutters.
“They don’t want to go out and buy a laser cutter,” Davidson said, “so businesses don’t have to buy every tool.”
This service will be convenient for businesses that need specialized tools like laser cutters only once a month, which doesn’t justify purchasing expensive equipment.
Membership in Local Works operates like a gym membership. Members can pay a yearly or monthly fee to access the tools.
One-time users, too, can buy a day pass to get their projects done.
Members sign a waiver when signing up, which helps Local Works to get a decently priced insurance rate. Local Works pays about $100 a month for its insurance coverage, which is higher than an average business, but not unreasonable for a business where customers operate heavy machinery, Davidson said.
Davidson is a 28-year-old Flagstaff local. He stayed in Flagstaff for his undergraduate studies at NAU in electrical engineering and is currently writing his thesis for his graduate studies in the same field. Davidson works as a engineering consultant for several businesses in the Flagstaff area.
BIGGER SPACE NEEDED
The idea for Local Works, Davidson says, came last December when he realized that he needed more room for the tools he uses for his personal projects.
“I came to need a bigger space,” Davidson said, “so that led me to the idea that a lot of people probably need this space.”
Davidson then wrote a Craigslist ad explaining his idea to see if there was any local interest in a community workshop. The response was overwhelmingly positive for Davidson, who then made a website for the project and currently has 200 people on a mailing list for Local Works information.
The idea for a community workshop came from San Francisco-area startups, called tech shops. Davidson visited the Bay Area, where he toured 15 tech shops. He then called or emailed 40 more similar shops around the nation to get an idea of how to run the business.
Locally, the business had some help in the form of grants totaling $12,500. They were from Northern Arizona University/Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies (NACET) and the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECoNA) in late June.
The NAU/NACET award of $5,000 followed a business plan competition that Davidson and Local Works signed up for.
Grants like the NAU/NACET award are designed to help with business expenses such as marketing, equipment costs and professional services. The funding comes from NAU but is distributed and cared for by NACET. NAU and NACET have been working together for the past three years on student business grants.
If you go...
Flagstaff Local Works will have a grand opening on Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the workshop located at 1926 N. Fourth St., Suite #9, behind Summit Gymnastics. www.FlagLocalWorks.com