There’s a gigantic rusty-red and cream colored building on the side of Union Street. It has multiple entrances, one of which leads up a concrete staircase to the door of a facility called JaxHax.
It’s what people call a makerspace, a place where someone can pay a monthly membership and have access to a number of workshops. There is a woodworking room, electronics and computer lab, and even an art room.
Wyatt Sanders saw the need for a makerspace in Jacksonville because he said there was nothing like it.
“The type of [people] that come to JaxHax are people [who] are working on their own projects of things that they’re trying to develop,” Sanders said. “So prototypes, their own artwork, projects for school or things that they might need tools and space to work on something.”
Sanders said a lot of members come because they want a sense of community where they can, not only bounce ideas off of other people, but also share tools and knowledge.
JaxHax has about 25 members. Jimmy Fox has been a member since the beginning who comes to the makerspace to work on battery technology. Fox said having the space of JaxHax is helpful.
“There’s only so much you can do in your garage just because your garage is a limited space,” Fox said. “So even if you have the tools, you’re constantly setting them up and taking them down.”
JaxHax members have produced creations as different as home-made 3D printers, to a metal sculpture of a shark completely constructed out of recycled bicycle materials named "Nibbles."
Fox said diversity if an important aspect of innovation and being able to integrate and combine chemical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science may be the next forefront of innovation and technology.
“The best way to do that,” Fox said, “is to put yourself in a diverse group of people that all come from different backgrounds and are excited to learn other areas and then you just kind of cross-pollinate.”
Each JaxHax member pays a monthly fee of $75 and has access to tools and all the workshops. The makerspace also offers classes included in the membership.
Sanders foresees much to come for the innovation hub, including the addition of more tools. JaxHax holds an open house the first Thursday of each month for prospective members.
You can follow Lindsey Kilbride on Twitter @lindskilbride.