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Thunderstorms likely, especially this evening. A few storms may be severe. Low 71F. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

Melissa Pardun talks about Maker’s Edge while her husband, Rick, adjusts a small 3-D printer. The space will have a larger 3-D printer, a 3-D scanner, a laser-cutter and other high- and low-tech tools.

Rick and Melissa Pardun are capitalizing on the growing popularity of high-tech DIY, creating a “makerspace” called Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue.

Rick, adjusts a small 3D printer. The space will have a larger 3-D printer, a 3-D scanner, a laser-cutter and other high- and low-tech tools.

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and librarie

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

A Waco couple is creating a “makerspace” called Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

Melissa Pardun talks about Maker’s Edge while her husband, Rick, adjusts a small 3-D printer. The space will have a larger 3-D printer, a 3-D scanner, a laser-cutter and other high- and low-tech tools.

Rick and Melissa Pardun are capitalizing on the growing popularity of high-tech DIY, creating a “makerspace” called Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue.

Rick, adjusts a small 3D printer. The space will have a larger 3-D printer, a 3-D scanner, a laser-cutter and other high- and low-tech tools.

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and librarie

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

Work progresses on Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

A Waco couple is creating a “makerspace” called Maker’s Edge on Austin Avenue. The subscription-based workshop will offer 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters and other expensive tools and will work with schools and libraries.

At the new tech workshop called Maker’s Edge, do-it-yourselfers will be able to make a dress, a dining room table or an engine part.

The “makerspace” set to open next month at 1800 Austin Ave. will let ordinary folks tinker with gee-whiz equipment such as 3-D printers and scanners, CNC routers and laser cutters, as well as lathes, drill presses, welding torches and sewing needles.

Along the way, owners Melissa and Rick Pardun hope people will find a community and unleash their creativity.

“We’re trying to be a DIY makerspace and prototyping studio where anyone from a tinker to an entrepreneur to a student can come in and collaborate with people in other fields and explore the world around them,” said Melissa Pardun, the workshop’s executive director.

The Parduns are renovating a 5,500-square-foot space that will include workstations and centers for metalworking, woodworking, electronics and even domestic crafts such as soapmaking. The couple say they are spending about $100,000 just for the equipment.

Membership in the workshop will cost from $80 to $120 a month, depending on access level. That is in line with prices at nonprofit makerspaces, said Melissa Pardun, herself a longtime nonprofit employee. She said members will have to go through a short safety course.

The “makers” movement has caught fire nationwide in recent years as do-it-yourselfers have sought ways to share equipment expenses and practical wisdom.

Three-dimensional printers have become a mainstay of makerspaces, allowing people to design products on a computer, then turn their designs into prototypes in plastic or other materials.

The Parduns also have a 3-D scanner that can help a user to replicate a part. They spent about $20,000 on a CNC router, a computer-guided system that can sculpt wood and other materials in intricate designs, and a similar amount on a guided laser cutter that can cut and etch glass and other materials.

The Parduns hope to collaborate with the library system, public schools and local colleges to give young people access to their space at little or no charge. Pardun said she would hope the workshop could attract high school students from the new Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy.

“They can get a taste of welding there, then they can come here and build anything they want,” she said. “They can come over here and there will be engineers and industrial designers you can walk up to and ask: ‘Hey, this doesn’t work for me. How can I make it better?’ ”

Rick Pardun, a product engineer who designs airplane components for L-3 Communications, will be a technical adviser and teacher for the operation. He said he is looking forward to an atmosphere of mutual support.

Rick Pardun said engineering students would benefit from the hands-on tinkering that is encouraged in a makerspace.

“You become a better engineer when you understand how things are actually built, and limitations of the tools you have,” he said.

Pardun said he expects Waco companies will sometimes send “tiger teams” of designers to the space to experiment with new products or design improvements.

Chris McGowan, urban development director for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks Maker’s Edge will find an enthusiastic following in Waco and encourage a culture of innovation. He said he is thinking about joining.

“You’re seeing a renaissance of garage manufacturing and tinkering,” he said. “The maker movement is something that’s growing really rapidly, and it will be great to say that we have a makerspace in Waco. That sort of community is exactly what we’re looking to create.”

Melissa and Rick Pardun have been “makers” for most of their lives, since they were buddies in shop class in middle school back in northern Missouri. Both of them grew up on farms and valued practical skills such as welding.

“We were dating when I was 12 and he was 13,” Melissa Pardun said. “I joined shop because he got out of school all the time to do FFA, and I wanted to do that too.”

Now in their early 40s, the Parduns have three teenage children and live in a house they built themselves out of structurally engineered panels. Their idea for a community workshop began several years ago when they were volunteering with the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby.

They noticed that some children had no one to help them carve a block of wood into a car, so they held a workshop at their house.

“It just occurred to us: What if we had a place where parents could go and take their kids and have someone help them build things?” Melissa Pardun said.

Pardun, a Truett Seminary graduate who has worked as a local hospital chaplain and a nonprofit ministry, sees a spiritual blessing in the act of making.

“Theologically, I believe every person was made to be a creator,” she said. “As you help people get in touch with the creator that’s in them, they will naturally become healthier and happier.”

Midway Independent School District has joined the makerspace movement, turning school libraries into workshops where children can tinker and p…

The owners of Maker’s Edge say their do-it-yourself workshop has been successful in its run of nearly two years, enough so that they were recently invited to the White House for a summit on the “makers movement.”

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