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Maryland’s Maker Movement Influencing Manufacturing

February 21, 2017
By Daniel Fleissig

For the first time in years, Maryland is experiencing a revival in its manufacturing sector, in large part due to the burgeoning maker movement. Originally established as a weekend meetup by hackers to build and tinker with robots and model planes, the sheer popularity of the one-time small maker events quickly grew into a full-fledged movement. Now, designers and entrepreneurs collaborate on their personal passions in maker spaces ranging from testing and scaling their products to building new, innovative prototypes.

With a significant drop in manufacturing jobs in the U.S., many people believe these traditional jobs will never return, but with support from the Maker Movement, it is possible for "an industrial revival in the U.S. that brings back economic growth, opportunity, and decent jobs for the blue collar workers." Soon, the Maker Movement will be able to provide education, skills, and jobs to allow workers to succeed in an entrepreneurial based world. Because of the rapid advancements in software, 3D printing, and accessible ways to create prototypes a ‘democratization of manufacturing’ is lying dormant but ready to blossom at America’s front steps. Through classes, easy access to technology and equipment, and increased problem solving skills, the Maker Movement’s potential in manufacturing is limitless.

In order to support the Maker Movement and its growing influence on manufacturing, we must allow the maker community to self-organize, engage local institutions and labs, experiment with new forms of training and education, and identify the best maker spaces. With the belief that the “next generation of manufacturing wisdom is more likely to bubble up from local experiments instead of tickling down from legacy institutions,” we agree and believe in the Maker Movement to move communities toward a tech driven future with relevant, purposeful, and well-paying skills.