New Skills, New Thrills with DIYcave

"You see an eight year old kid cutting steel with a blow torch, it's pretty awesome" - Danek on gratitude in running the space

Bend is a community full of people who like to be a part of things, but what if people could also learn how to make things? That's the goal of DIYcave, a collaborative makerspace in its first year of operation. DIYcave is the brainchild of Aaron Leis, Dave Danek, and Tim Willis. They supply the space, equipment, and resources to help members build, repair, and invent whatever they want.

Interview highlights

Making a makerspace

The origins of the space

  • Tim recalls how he and Dave had been thinking about creating a space for a while, but when they met Aaron after the Bend Fall Festival things really started gaining momentum. "We ended up sitting on my tailgate til about 1030 at night after we closed the booth up, and kind of all just walked away going...we just need to do this together." Aaron had been researching other makerspaces across the country and was enthusiastic about Tim and Dave's vision for what they wanted to accomplish in Bend.

Setting up the shop

  • "I think it was pretty easy" Danek mentioned. Sometimes new endeavors take a lot of pain to get started, but Tim, Dave, and Aaron knew how to push things forward once they were all committed to the idea. "A lot of things kind of fell into place for us." Tim and Dave had been looking at spaces, but Aaron had already signed an LOI on a better space. DIYcave is impressive right now, but Willis admits "we're still a work in progress and probably will be for a long time." It seems to be part of the appeal.

What people are making

Classes are the key

  • DIYcave runs an impressive schedule of classes that are designed for anyone to participate in. "Everything from soap making to welding...the youngest kids are 8 years old and we teach people up to their 70's and 80's," Danek comments. "A lot of people that come in don't have skills, they have ideas, and want to learn how to do this." They held a couples welding class on Valentines Day which I'm going to remember for next year. Willis mentions "We had a lady come in and take Dave's cabinet class, and the next week had wood dropped off, and started building a complete cabinet set and finished that up in about 3 weeks." The space is particularly friendly to newbies, but has lots of advanced classes as well. 
DIYcave Bend

Custom projects 

  • While DIYcave excels with its class format, some of the most interesting work happens when members take their new found skills and apply them towards other more intricate projects. "A woman came in with this awesome idea, so that she could go on an adventure. She showed up with a motorcycle and a side car, and no way to have them attach together, so we helped her work through that project" Danek remembers. Check out her website to see the updates. Another member is almost finished building a Tiny House that will be towed to Washington in a few weeks. The DIYcave chronicles the work in their blog.

What the future holds

Hopes and dreams

  • When I asked the group what they wanted to accomplish with the space in the future, their eyes lit up. Wills admitting that "it will probably take more than my lifetime to complete." He mentioned a desire to really beef up their educational offerings but also to promote new business growth by "letting people come in and prototype here, let them run their ideas without having to invest in a lot of the tools, or rent the space necessary while they're trying to figure out the viability." That seems like a win-win. 

All about the community

  • DIYcave helps the REstore, does events with the Environmental Center, and participated in and sponsored portions of TEDxBend. They're going to be running summer camps with The Children's Museum of Central Oregon this year, and honestly it's hard to ignore their enthusiasm for helping kids learn maker skills. "It's amazing to see their eyes light up" says Willis. "We have that yearning, that longing, for creating, repairing, and maintaining things now" said Leis, and it's obvious that's why DIYcave exists.

Favorite place in Bend

For good conversations

  • Willis and Danek are both fond of GoodLife Brewing, admitting that they "do a lot of thinking there."

444 SE 9th St.
Bend, OR 97702

DIYcave Bend