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SALT Makerspace Brings 3D Printing to CNY

SALT Makerspace Brings 3D Printing to CNY

SALT (Syracuse Arts Learning and Technology) Makerspace is the brainchild of Michael Giannattasio who taught plastic fabrication courses at Syracuse University as a graduate sculpture student. After working with art students to realize their creativity, he wanted to bring high-end prototyping equipment to Central New York in an open access format.

“I really wanted to get engaged with people,” Giannattasio said. “There are so many people in this area who have so many ideas, but have no place to express themselves [or] make it a reality.”  

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SALT Makerspace founder Michael Giannattasio explains 3D printing

In 2014, Giannattasio gathered a number of people from the area, crafted a business plan to give members of the Syracuse community access to high-end equipment like 3D printers, prototyping tools and laser cutters. He opened the first location of the SALT Makerspace shortly after completing the plan.

Today the SALT Makerspace hosts 20 to 30 workshops each month to participants of all ages, from eight to 80 years old.

“It is great for people who do not know how to use a 3D printer or who have a low budget,” Giannattasio said.

After viewing SALT’s laser-etching equipment, Syracuse native, programmer and illustrator Aimee Maroney instantly became a member last year. “I’ve been obsessed with doing laser etching,” she said. ” And when I learned they had one, I joined that day.”

Thanks to their 24-hour membership access, Maroney can transform her illustrations into engraved wood designs and even commission pieces on her own schedule. “People who are coming in with a business plan, project or design want to translate [it] into a product,” Giannattasio said. “They use the 3D printers [or] the laser cutter to actually create the product.”  

SALT also collaborates with engineers and designers from the community, such as JoJo Rings, which uses the equipment to repurpose old keys into rings.

Even with so many donors and supporters (one actually donated a 3D printer) their overhead wasn’t equal to their income, so Giannattasio decided to downsize to a 400 sq. ft. studio to help reduce the pressure of high rent and insurance. Because of the smaller space, SALT will focus more on digital fabrication and less on metal and woodworking.  

Giannattasio’s next goal is to fundraise about $150,000 so SALT can move to a larger facility.

The new space is just four blocks away from their original location. It will have more interaction with the Syracuse community since they’re now adjacent to the rentable office space business, Syracuse Coworks.

For Giannattasio, moving is also a way for SALT to focus on their original mission of collaboration and community.

About The Author

Dingyue Zhang

Syracuse University Newhouse School of Communications Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism Graduate Program 2016 Communication University of China 2015

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