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Project Partner Spotlight: IDIYA

By Green Coast on 29 Jan 2016

People are always making something at IDIYA: kids learning to create their own comic strips, a young entrepreneur using a 3D printer to produce a prototype, and a hobbyist operating a band saw to build that table he’s always talked about.

This is exactly what IDIYA Founder and President Domenic Giunta dreamed of when he opened the makerspace, workshop and design studio.

“I wanted to put tools and equipment in the hands of people who couldn’t afford them,” says Giunta. “Like artists, hobbyists and entrepreneurs.” IDIYA, 2703 South Broad Street, offers memberships and day passes, so people can learn and use the extensive list of state-of-the-art equipment, which includes numerous 3D printers, drill presses, lathes, and laser cutters.

Giunta’s dream has exploded, so much so that IDIYA, which has been open less than a year, is already expanding. Giunta and his team are converting the bottom floor of the next-door building into a wood shop. But don’t think of it as that industrial arts wood shop from high school.

“People will be using it to build individual items, but there will also be design tools like CAD (Computer-aided design) programs, which we teach, and then advanced manufacturing equipment, so there will be the ability to mass produce,” Giunta says.

Giunta adds that this ability to produce can mean quite a bit to New Orleans fast-growing world of entrepreneurs. Instead of only having an idea or a design in mind for a new product, IDIYA allows these entrepreneurs to actually produce these items. If there proves to be a market for these items, then the entrepreneur can profit, so when they’re looking for investors and loans, it’s not for an idea; it’s for a product with a proven sales record.

There are no age restrictions for joining the makerspace movement. Besides offering after-school classes and other options, IDIYA has teamed up with their neighbor and social entrepreneur incubator Propeller and Capital One to create a makerspace program for teachers, who can then bring it into the classroom. For kids, this will increase their math, computer, and science skills and foster creativity. Giunta also plans on introducing IDIYA Labs, which will be a truck that travels to schools.

If this all sounds like a revolution, you’re beginning to think like Giunta. He sees DIY workshop/design studios like IDIYA as the start of a new era in manufacturing“a move away from international manufacturing conglomerates and a return to community-centered products.

“They call it the new industrial revolution,” Giunta says. “I see a rebirth of localized manufacturing. So you’re not producing millions necessarily, but it’s more mass customization.”

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