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A space to make our own

A Kaka‘ako haven for creatives leads off our series on the new spirit of island industry.

Jolyn Okimoto Rosa

By the time he was a teenager, Ross Mukai had the skills to make things. But his neighbors in studious Manoa didn’t appreciate the noise of his airplane engines or metalcasting, and they let him know it by calling the police and fire department regularly.

Sometime after high school, after one too many such calls, Mukai says he knew he had to find another space. It was out of his search to find a place to do his “fun stuff” that Oahu Makerspace was born.

Located in Kaka‘ako at 527 Cummins Street, the 6,000 square-foot space is a collaborative factory for members to make products, utilizing machinery and expertise ranging from welding equipment to table saws and sanders for woodworking. Members can choose different levels of involvement, with student membership starting at $9 per day. An annual full membership is $2,000.

The value of membership isn’t just in having a space to work, though, but also in learning skills through workshops and through networking with other makers. Such learning is important, says Mukai. “Connecting your mind to your hands is something that is going to be useful to you whatever you do, whether you’re actually making something or not.”

“There is room for a manufacturing economy,” he says. Makerspace is going to have to pretty much help create that manufacturing because of the access it can provide.”

“This is going to be the future,” Mukai says.

Kris Mae Brown of MaeBrown Furniture