Five reasons to check out GoCreate, a Koch Collaborative, during Wichita State's Open House this weekend.
Walk in as a quilt-maker, leave as wood-worker –GoCreate's 18,000-square feet of space are filled with machinery and tools of a wide variety.
Mentors and members are there to learn from and with.
“Once you're there you get ideas and want to branch out and do other things,” said GoCreate member Kim Swisher. “There's so many different things that you can do there, that once you get there you can try just about anything.”
Swisher started at GoCreate working the textile areas to make quilts. She learned to make jewelry, often using Wichita State basketball as an inspiration, using the laser-cutter and other tools.
“We just kept getting ideas and making more,” she said. “I took a welding class. I'd like to learn how to use the water jet and make some things.”
So much cool machinery –In fact, it's $2 million worth of drill presses, saws, grinders, sanders, laser-cutters and more.
“The big thing is access to the bandwidth of ability,” said GoCreate director Ty Masterson. “The water-jets, the CNC stuff, those are obviously things people just don't have in their house,”
Tom Hinkle creates T-shirts, decals and posters on GoCreate's computers and printers for his businesses.
“You can do everything in here from design to print,” he said. “Most of the time I'm using the vinyl-cutter. I use the media printer. I just started using the (Canon digital printer), which I absolutely love.”
Quilting and printing –The quilt-maker is likely GoCreate's busiest machine. The name is somewhat misleading.
NASA, Catherine Helms, GoCreate outreach specialist said, uses that kind of machine to reinforce parachute stitching. The GoCreate quilt-maker can help reupholster a chair.
“The quilting machine is one of our most-used and the highlight of the textile studio,” Helms said. “That would be a machine to check out on a first visit.”
Not far behind are GoCreate's vinyl printers and 3D printers. Scan in a design and GoCreate's 11 3D printers can create a prototype or a tool. One member, Helms said, printed a tool that allows him to turn off in-ground sprinklers.
“We've even had students come in and work with parents to make their book-report project on a 3D printer,” she said.
Your schedule –GoCreate is open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-6 p.m. on Sunday.
“Most people walk in and think we're on college hours,” Masterson said. “You can come in after work or on the weekends.”
Within those hours, mentors and classes are available to help members learn new skills and operate tools and machines efficiently and safely.
“We have the how-to, the training classes,” Masterson said. “People can access in their outside hours and they'll teach me how to do it.”
Places to succeed and fail – Wood-working mentor Merv Bontrager says GoCreate can be a place that tests patience, and that's part of the allure.
He made a dining room table, using walnut, cherry and maple woods, for his grand-daughter as a graduation gift.
“It was frustrating,” he said. “But out of that frustration is the excitement. I'm always learning. Out of that frustration comes an ‘Ah' moment, as in ‘Ah, that's what I was looking for.'”
Earlier this week, Bontrager pondered a rectangular block of wood he intends to make into a rolling pin.
“The human being needs to be creative,” he said. “It's putting things together and not knowing what the outcome may be.”