Big ideas are brought to reality at GoCreate makerspace


Darryl Carrington towed a black 1976 903 Porsche with him from Los Angeles to Wichita 10 years ago. He last drove it eight years ago, on his wife's birthday.

His plan to drive it again requires an exhaust system rebuilt at GoCreate, a Koch Collaborative. He plans to make it a father-son project with Oases, 19, a Wichita State student.

“People are like ‘Why don't you get rid of that thing,'” Darryl Carrington said. “It's like my trophy. We're going to do it together. Maybe he's going to be the next driver.”

These are the kind of stories that GoCreate director Ty Masterson loves to talk about when discussing the makerspace's first year. GoCreate has 180 members, 30 more than its goal for the first year, after opening in April 2017.

“We're adapting to the needs of our community here,” he said. “What new equipment is needed? Developing fun challenges. We want to expand the social environment.”

Ginger Brown reports to GoCreate four days a week at 1 p.m. to continue her exploration of the facility.

“I use almost everything,” she said. “I never, ever thought I would learn how to operate a milling machine.”

Her current project is creating a cutting press for use in an invention. She used the sewing area to make leather pouches for her sailing club and the laser engraver to etch the club's logo on the pouch. For her nephew's wedding, she engraved her gift – a rotating tray – with the emblem from the invitation.

“There's very much a fun, creative aspect to being here and talking with other people,” she said. “And then I've gotten a lot of practical advice from the people who work here. There's always somebody there who can help you.”

Collin Allen Sydney Payne

Collin Allen is a WSU student, a father and an artist who utilizes his membership to GoCreate nearly every day.

Wichita State student and artist Collin Allen might be GoCreate's most frequent visitor. He used the facility 203 days out of the 313 days it was open. 

“You get this time to kind of play, and people don't think about how often play leads to innovation and how to build things,” Allen said. “You experiment. You try.”

Allen, who is working on his Fine Arts degree and owns a degree in welding, works with metals, wood, fabrics, painting and photography, clothing and jewelry. He estimates he's completed around 100 projects during his year-plus as a GoCreate member.

GoCreate's wide-format printer is particularly convenient and a money-saver. It allows him to modify the image immediately and cut as much as $3,000 from a project that might cost $4,000.

“If you have an idea, you can complete it here,” Allen said. “There is nothing that holds you back.”

Allen's home features two studios, but those spaces are not as convenient as GoCreate, where he can move quickly from the welding shop to working with wood is a time-saver. For some projects, he brings his own tools; for others, he uses tools available at GoCreate.

“(At home), I have to pull out a saw, use it, put that saw away,” he said. “Pull out my welder. Hook that up. Use it. Put it away.”

Bigger than expected

Carrington wants to use GoCreate more often and his father-son project is a perfect way to start. He is an accidental Wichitan – on his way to South Carolina when a medical emergency stopped the trip – who lives near the university. He is a Wichita State graduate who serves as treasurer of the Fairmount Neighborhood Association.

The Porsche's exhaust system overheats and Carrington is ready to start the rebuild using GoCreate's welding tools. He wants to use Wichita State's National Institute for Aviation Research for advice on materials.

“I'm going to redo that whole exhaust system,” he said. “I can do all of that here. I can use chrome. I can do stainless steel. Aluminum. Any of those materials.”

Carrington plans to work on his car. Allen stitched together a backpack, welded a manhole cover into a table and turned ebony and Tasmanian eucalyptus into writing pens. Nearby, a boat and motorcycle are under construction by other GoCreate members.

The members join GoCreate to learn, innovate, collaborate, start or build a business or school project.

Quilting is bigger than Masterson expected – there is a waiting list of more than a month to use the quilting machine. GoCreate started with one laser engraver, added a second after six months and a third might be necessary, Masterson said. Similar demand produced the need to add a welding unit and more 3D printing capacity.

“We're adding a custom jeans class, a workshop where you can come in a make your own set of custom jeans,” Masterson said. “We've morphed more into how-to classes – how to weld, how to 3D print, how laser engrave, how to water jet. A lot of people don't understand you have access to that.”