MissionWhat do you do when you have more fabrication equipment than one person can reasonably use in a lifetime?
You let other people use them, of course.
Open Toolbox was started as a way to give access to state of the art fabrication equipment and tools to hobbyists who couldn't get their hands on them any other way. What started as a bunch of work tables in a South Boston garage is now a non-for-profit, membership-driven community workshop in a 30,000 square foot former warehouse in Andrew Square, offering shared tools, equipment, material, education, storage space and scholarships for creators of all ages.
On-site material and project storage allow members to create and store projects without the hassle of handling logistics. A large range of affordable, publicly-accessible classes offered by local artisans and staffers focus on either creating a final product the student can take home after the class or general training for specific tools, equipment and techniques. But our most important mission is hosting and promoting events with the goal of encouraging fabrication communities, share spaces & culture.
EquipmentThis is just a small list of what Open Toolbox has on hand in the warehouse.
various bicycle-construction tools
Digital Fabrication and Design Lab
3D printers (MarkForged I, FlashForge and Ultimaker)
laser cutters (four 90W and one 100W with 2’x4′ cut bed)
CAD/CAM/Design software (including FreePCB, TinyCAD, Autodesk Fusion 360 and many others)
Electronics and Robotics
bench mounted circular magnifier with light
bench mounted stereo microscope
Self-healing cutting mats
Jewelry & Metalsmithing
6 jewelry benches each with a torch, flex shaft, annealing pan and bench pin
kiln and crucibles for investment casting
induction & microwave furnaces
micro pulse arc welder
mills (CNC & manual)
lathes (CNC & manual)
horizontal & vertical bandsaw
Foam cutting jigsaw
Belt and disc sanders
Screen Printing Shop
1 & 4 color press
darkroom drying racks & storage
TIG & MIG welders
hand-held plasma cutter
Sand blasting cabinet
compound sliding miter saw with at-height work bench extensions
radial arm drill press
Membership & Grants
Membership Rates and Schedules
Membership at Open toolbox is flexible, with a range of times and storage space available for your needs. Also, unlike many membership fabrication shops, access to sheet metal, plywood, tubing, PVC and other basic fabrication materials for your specialty are on hand and included in your monthly membership fee. If you need more specialized products, you can use OT’s suppliers to order them at OUR cost, which can save a considerable amount of cash.
All fees listed are per month.
A full Open Toolbox membership also grants you 24-7 access to the building, your projects and materials via an assigned security code. We are closed on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
We close at 5 pm on the 3rd Sunday in January, March 14th, May 4th, the Sunday before Memorial Day, the 3rd of July, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve to host parties for our OT Community.
|Fee||M - F||Weekends||Rentals Permitted|
|Tinker||$90||6a–6p||None||All storage, shared 75/100 sf studio|
|Weekender||$90||None||8a – 10p||All storage, shared 75/100 sf studio|
|Night Owl||$125||6p–6a||6p–6a||All storage, 50 sf studio, shared 75/100 sf studio|
DaytrippersOnly need our services for a limited amount of time? No problem. Our Daytripper Program is designed for short-term projects. Monthly membership is not required to purchase Daytripper passes, but Daytripper passes do not grant membership access or benefits. However, there's plenty of scrap material that is up for grabs at any time. Daytrippers can take advantage of OT’s ordering discounts.
Daytripper packages expire 90 days after the purchase date and are non-transferable.
|Cost||M-Th Access||Fri-Sun Access||Rentals Permitted|
|5 Pack||$115||12n - 10p||10 a – 6 p||Storage Only|
|10 Pack||$190||12n - 10p||10 a – 6 p||Storage Only|
Grants & SubsidiesThe Open Toolbox community was built around the belief that everyone and anyone should be given the opportunity to make their ideas a reality. In that spirit, OT is proud to offer Toolbox Keys, which provide membership services to those in financial need who have ideas that are too awesome to leave dreams. It’s our hope that these grants can help teach marketable skills and help make the world a better place by making those dreams reality.
Do you have an awesome project in mind but need to take a class to become proficient with the tools? Already signed off on the tools of the trade and now want to make your family heirloom? Are you a renter at the Toolbox and have a product idea you want to get off the ground? Keys can be used for all of these.
We also offer 20% subsidized membership for working artists, seniors, full-time students, the unemployed, and others with demonstrated financial need. Certain restrictions apply. Submit your application to be considered for a subsidized membership to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the phrase Toolbox Keys in the subject line.. Please allow at least 2 weeks for Member Services to review and respond to your request.
Ned Howard, PresidentA lifelong gear-head, Ned started the original Toolbox in the garage of his Cambridge home when restoring his 1947 Triumph motorcycle. Unable to find acceptable original or aftermarket parts, he decided to use the fabrication knowledge learned from his grandfather and father in order to make them himself. Once he started to let his Bunker Hill Community College students and fellow gear-heads borrow his extensive collection of tools for class assignments and refurbishing their own bikes and cars, the initial spark for OT was born.
Ned teaches the Training courses for Manual Milling Machines, the occasional Basic MIG Welding Tool Training and is a regular at True Blue Hacker Nights.
Ruth Howard, Education Manager/Member ServicesRuth caught the fabrication bug from her father and has been a part of the OT from the very beginning, starting with answering phones and handling membership information. From building projects for her MIT classes, teaching beginner classes for welding and CAD to her current role in scheduling the classes offered and guest teachers, Ruthie is the heart of the OT community.
Ruth teaches beginner classes in using 3-D printers, electronics and CAD programs. She also takes suggestions for classes to add to the calendar and is the guide for our public and private tours.
Nathan Howard, Procurement ManagerLike his sister Ruth, Nate was at his father's side learning how to fabricate and build from a very young age. He has been a part of the OT community from the time the space originally opened in Somerville when he was an undergrad at MIT. He currently splits his time between MIT where he is finishing work on his second Ph.D., ordering all of OT's machinery and materials and an R&D internship at Howard Innovations in Tarrytown, NY. He is a regular at True Blue Hacker Night with his dad, along with teaching advanced robotics classes, plasma and laser cutter skills and his own personal passion, wood shop classes. The idea for the Open Toolbox logo and sign that hangs in the entrance of the space were designed by him.
South Boston, MA
Want to take a look at the space before you decide to join us, or just curious about what a membership fabrication space actually is? We're open to the general public for tours every Friday evening from 5pm to 7pm, or you can ask for a private tour by e-mailing email@example.com.