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Quebec’s first co-op workshop opens in Saint-Henri

In this file photo, a man grinds metal in a workshop.
In this file photo, a man grinds metal in a workshop. Espace Fabrique

Montreal makers now have a place where they can work on industrial design projects and receive professional training.

Espace Fabrique is a 12,000 sq.-ft. former factory that has been converted into three separate workshops with 19 industrial-grade machines for both woodworking and metalwork.

This is the province’s first co-operative workshop, one that its creators hope will fill a need in the community.

“It will provide a boost for artists and entrepreneurs who want to work on projects that were previously not feasible for them,” said board chairman Michael Novak.

READ MORE: Makerspace project transforms artistic concepts into entrepreneurial ventures

For a $20 membership fee, anyone is able to join Espace Fabrique and take advantage of sharing resources within the maker community, work in private areas, and receive advice from trained experts.

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“Materials and equipment represent an important investment that can be hard to handle in the early stages of any project, and can become a deterrent for its conception,” added Saint-Henri MNA Dominique Anglade.

She thinks the project is a “winning formula” for startups and DIY-ers, especially since the Quartier de l’Innovation is located nearby. Members and partners will be able to collaborate and benefit from technical specialists who can try the prototypes developed in Espace Fabrique.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: C2MTL looks to the future

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is encouraged by Espace Fabrique and similar projects, as they “encourage and promote entrepreneurship as a leverage for growth and as an engine for economic development.”

“This unique, creative space of production will foster the creation of direct and indirect employment and help reduce costs related to the development of new manufacturing products,” Coderre said.

Are you a maker? Here’s what’s available to you:

  • 12,000 sq.-ft. floor space across three workshops with 19-ft. ceilings
  • 19 industrial-grade machines for wood-, plastic- and metalwork including:
    • electronics and robotics typically found in maker spaces
    • CNC machines (automated milling machines to make tools and components)
    • a plasma soldering machine
    • cabinet, circular, band and table saws
  • Private work areas
  • Computer systems with Mastercam and Solidworks softwares
  • Personnel with technical and artistic expertise

Click here for the full list (French only) of what is available at Espace Fabrique

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The space’s executive director hopes that collaborative prototyping and manufacturing will reduce costs and collectively improve the expertise of members.

“We can also support makers from the initial design through the production stage of a functioning, market-ready prototype,” said Emmanuelle Raynauld.

How to join

Espace Fabrique offers three different membership levels to accommodate various needs.

After joining with the $20 membership fee, you’ll have to go through an evaluation to ensure that you are properly trained to use the equipment in the space. Safety is a top priority around dangerous equipment and the team at Espace Fabrique will provide the training necessary to operate their tools.

The workspace is also accessible to people under the age of 18 as long as they are accompanied by an adult who has received proper certification.

Once approved, here are your options:

  • $20 per day for access to the workspace and equipment. Machine reservations can be made over the phone or on-site.
  • $200 per month for access to the workspace, equipment, storage, and computer prototyping. Equipment reservations can be made up to a week in advance.
  • $2000 per year for access to the workspace, equipment, storage, and computer prototyping. Equipment reservations can be made up to three weeks in advance.

Click here for full details on membership (French only) and to find out special rates for students and companies.

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Espace Fabrique is located at 4767 Rue Dagenais in Saint-Henri. It is open Monday to Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.