I recently visited SYN Shop, a hackerspace located in downtown Las Vegas. A hackerspace is a place where inventors and hobbyists, or simply those eager to learn, can (for a small usually monthly fee) come and use equipment, take classes and basically create. Hackerspaces are a way for people to pool resources to buy tools and equipment that may be too expensive for individuals. In addition to the tools, hackerspace members get to learn from others and their experiences, skills, and ideas.
Being in Las Vegas, I visited SYN Shop, but there are hackerspaces around the world. A great resource for finding hackerspaces in your area is HackerSpaces.org. In addition, hackerspaces periodically hold Maker Faires, events where tinkerers, inventors and hobbyists come together to learn and share skills and resources. A maker faire is a great way to learn about the hackerspace in your area. You can find out more about maker faires at MakerFaire.com.
During my visit I interviewed Pawel Szymczykowsk, one of the members of SYN Shop and asked him to give me an overview.
In addition I took a few pictures of some of the equipment at SYN Shop. All of it is available to members.
Older 3-D Printer.: An older 3-D printer, donated, that uses gypsum and a binder to form pieces.
Makerbot Replicator 2: A Makerbot Replicator 2 that prints in PLA (plastic made from corn)
Laser Cutter: A laser cutter made by Full Spectrum, a Las Vegas company.
Thing-o-Matic: An Older Makerbot, called the Thing-o-Matic.
In addition the SYN Shop boasts 3-D printer, an electronics bench, a crafts bench, a CNC machine and various shop tools like a drill press and a belt sander.
All in all, SYN Shop has a lot to offer inventors and hobbyists in the Las Vegas area or even visitors from out of town. If you're in Las Vegas and need a break from the glitz of the casinos, SYN Shop is a great place to keep your creative battery charged and gather some skills and inspiration along with the rest of your Vegas experience.