What is a “Makerspace”?

“Makerspaces” provide collaborative, interdisciplinary environments for hands-on invention and practical creativity. The Maker Movement has grown from bootstrap collectives in Makerspaces like garages and abandoned buildings to become a national phenomenon, capturing the attention of the advanced manufacturing industry. The White House recently hosted the “First Annual National Maker Faire” to highlight “…entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch businesses, learn vital [STEM skills] and lead a grassroots renaissance in American manufacturing.” Rhode Island has launched its own Manufacturing Renaissance with initiatives like the RI Advanced Manufacturing Center,, and elements of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Make It Happen RI campaign.


Tinker|Bristol is in the historic National Rubber Company (c 1864) complex, now the Bristol Industrial Park, 500 Wood Street in downtown Bristol, RI. Listed both in the State and National Register of Historic Places, in 1931 the campus was the site of US Rubber’s cable and wire division, which at its peak during World War II employed half the population of Bristol. Many East Bay residents remember working in the Industrial Park when the site was the home of Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation from 1957-1977. The Tinker|Bristol space is leased from the I. Shalom Corporation, themselves a third generation manufacturer of clothing & accessories.

The Facility:

Located on the ground floor of a well-maintained historic manufacturing building, the Tinker|Bristol space has large windows with plenty of natural light, 10’-12’ tall ceilings and some high-bay space with 20’+ clearance. There is (14,000sf ) of adjacent space available for our partners and affiliates to lease for office and/or industrial use. The building itself has multiple loading docks, a drive-in loading dock and hand-trucks and pallet jacks for communal use. The space has access to 3 phase 400amp min service or higher, depending on our needs.

When fully operational, the 12,400 sf facility will have:

  • A full metal shop and wood shop for fabricating and testing parts and finished products
  • A ‘wet’ area for paints and resins with fume hoods and spray booth
  • Rapid Prototyping equipment and areas for 3D Printers, CNC machines, and related tools
  • Areas for fabric arts, work-tables, layout spaces, and other ‘cleaner’ processes
  • Shared open office space with desks and cubicles for rent or FCFS use
  • Conference Rooms & Meeting Areas including video conferencing capabilities
  • Shared back-office support including Receptionist, Copy Center, and other services
  • Large communal meeting space for lecture series and other programming of interest
  • Café / Hang-out area to encourage community generation and innovation germination
  • Private Reserved Floor-Areas (8’x8’ or 10’x10’) for longer term projects
  • Lockable storage areas, private tool/project carts, and shelf storage

What is the cost of joining Tinker|Bristol?

Modeled similar to a fitness gym, makerspace memberships allow access to the facilities and equipment at rates from $65/month to $200/month for early adopters. Discounts will be available to students, seniors, military and annual members. Volunteers who assist during the start-up phase and volunteer trainers and instructors will be eligible for significant discounts. Rates for incubator tenants and manufacturers include the makerspace membership plus fees for premium space and supplemental services, ranging from $100 to $300/month.

The Manufacturing
Wall of Honor

Pay tribute to the maker in your company or in your family.

Do you know someone who manufactured or made things? What is their story?

Share a photo or an object for display in Tinker|Bristol.

What would you like to see in makerspace?

Tinker|Bristol is being designed to meet the needs of makers who want to invent, innovate or just tinker.

Please share your feedback by taking the survey below, which will help us with planning for equipment, services and funding.

VERY Quick Survey

(Only 7 questions!)

Detailed Membership Interest Questionnaire

Making it together

Following an integrative design process, Tinker|Bristol is being developed collaboratively, in consultation with its stakeholders—entrepreneurs, trades people, start-ups, existing businesses, inventors and makers of all stripes—as well as a broad network of leaders in manufacturing, economic development, education and the Maker Movement.