Provisional Membership QuickStart Guide

Welcome to the Columbus Idea Foundry--we’re excited that you’re considering joining our community of more than 100 Makers!

As you take classes and interact with our members, volunteers, and instructors, you’ll get a feel for our community workshop space. We’ve compiled some useful information about the path to membership, and features and benefits to being a CIF member.

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Please don’t hesitate to email me directly if you have any questions now or in the future!


Casey McCarty

Assistant Director


Quickstart Contents

Member Perks

The CIF: Who We Are & What We Do

CIF Member Handbook

What Next:  How Do I Become A Member?

Member Perks (yes, provisional members too!)

*  Info-sharing:  We maintain community-collaborative documents which you can consult for trouble shooting our most frequently used tool stations (laser and ShopBot).  We also collaborate online via a Yahoo Group, and offline at the shop and at special events.

* Exhibition & retail opportunities:  We host quarterly Open Houses at which members may sell or exhibit their goods/services free of charge in exchange for contributing food or beverages to event hospitality.  

We participate in local trade shows & festivals where members can also display/sell free of charge provided they help staff the booth (e.g. ComFest, Independent’s Day, the EcoChic Craftacular, and more).  

We also sponsor Columbus’ Mini Maker Faire in the fall, an exciting opportunity to showcase your Maker skills!

* Member-only Discounts:  Members get discounted admission for some classes and workshops (if the instructor has offered discounts, several do--and we’re working to improve this).  Just choose “CIF Member Discounted Admission” (or similar) from the drop-down menu at the class/event registration page.  

* Special Events & Lectures:  Beginning in Spring, 2013, we’re arranging for special guest lectures about tools, technology, and small business to improve our community knowledge.  CIF members can attend these special lectures and seminars free of charge.

* Meeting Space for Groups or Clients:  Members generally may host a meeting or MeetUp here once monthly free of charge during regular open hours provided that the event is free and open to the public, doesn’t contain objectionable content and is otherwise consistent with our public image.  

Members are also welcome to use common areas or their own studio to meet a client, for example if it’s not booked for classes, etc.  

*Software Access:  The software which runs the laser cutter and ShopBot are available for use in the electronics classroom.  Members may do file tweaks and dive into learning this software without being at the tool stations--meaning they’re not being billed for tool station use!

General Info about the CIF

From an interview with Assistant Director Casey McCarty for the Columbus Young Professionals, 2013

What is the Columbus Idea Foundry?

We’re a community workshop space, also called a hackerspace or makerspace. We have a simple mission: teach people who want to learn and provide tool and technology access to people who want to make. We have over 100 members and at least a third represent independent, local small businesses.

We offer tools from conventional woodshop, metal- working, welding, and blacksmithing stations to leading technology such as CNC ShopBot, laser cutter and engraver, and 3D prototyping printers. We also have fine-art stations: jewelry-smithing, screen printing, warm glass shop, and a privately operated dark room.

We can also design and build things directly for consumers and businesses—such as meeting small business retail needs, signage, and commissioned merchandise.

What does the CIF offer the Arts Community?

We teach classes on all our tool, tech, and fine arts stations. We also have business development classes like our Etsy Bootcamp, HTML and WordPress, and classes that improve your design and craftsmanship skills. We’ve really removed many barriers to independent design, prototyping, and small-scale fabrication.

It only takes a couple classes to apply for membership. Our members enjoy 24/7 access to an impressive array of tools they could otherwise not afford on their own and an even more impressive community of more than 100 artists, artisans, creative entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, and fabricators of various backgrounds and experiences.

What types of businesses operate at the CIF?

We incubate such a diverse community of emerging creative entrepreneurs. No matter the background, we all respect each other as makers. We're eager to share knowledge, and learn from fresh perspectives and specialties. There’s truly an organic synthesis that occurs from the melding of different kinds of creative makers.

Some businesses are offering direct consumer goods from furniture to popular local-themed keepsakes. Some creatives are getting their art directly to the market through screen printing, jewelry, and fine art. Others are breaking ground as tech startups from interactive technology to a new stock animated video game asset site. Many do exciting education outreach from using electric hot rods to build better automotive engineers, to bringing digital storytelling and animation to the classroom.

Where have we seen you in the community?

Last year we hosted Ohio’s first Mini Maker Faire and beat out coastal big cities in attendance for the first international Make: 3D printing meetup. We hosted alumni dinners, private corporate class events, special girls-in-tech programming for the Girl Scouts, and were a featured part of the ASTC’s national conference. We exhibited at the recent idUS tech expos, and the Eco Summit.

This year we have special workshops and events already planned with Denison and Capital Universities. We will again be at local festivals such as ComFest and Independent’s Day.

In partnership with the Franklinton Development Association, we’re exploring an expansion to a larger facility in Franklinton, very close to COSI with whom we frequently partner and next to the 400 West Rich arts community.

The CIF Member Handbook, updated January 2013.

visit this link: 2013 Columbus Idea Foundry Member Handbook

This defines what is expected of members, explains how to use and reserve tools, how to connect to our community, important information about safety & security, and many other important policies of which you need to be aware.  

As a prospective member, please feel free to take a look at our expectations and values as we build a friendly, functional community workshop space.  

What Next:  How Do I Become A Member?

1.  Take at least 2 classes.

2.  Apply Here.  

3.  Become a provisional member.


Provisional members are new members.  For the first three months of your membership you are considered “provisional.”  We need to make sure we get a chance to see that you can operate safely and respectfully in our environment; that you’ve read through and understand our handbook, and are appropriately recording your tool use (it’s on the honor system!)  Provided there are no problems or incidents, at some point during those three months, you will be given a key and alarm code for 24/7 facility access.


Provisional members are asked to pre-pay their $35/month membership fee for the full three month period (=$105) which reduces our bookkeeping energies as you test out if we’re a good fit for your needs.   You can pay via PayPal, check, or credit card by phone or in person.  Provisional members are still invoiced for tool-use fees and billed monthly.  

Those wishing to become regular members after the 3-month provisional period continue at the same rate month-to-month.