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"FabSpace" To Give Residents Access To High-tech Production

Partners Jeff Opt and Erin Vasconcelos hope to turn this room in the Old Yellow Cab Building into a "maker Space."
Jerry Kenney
Partners Jeff Opt and Erin Vasconcelos hope to turn this room in the Old Yellow Cab Building into a "maker Space."

Dayton’s "old" Yellow Cab Co. building could be the location of a manufacturing site that would offer people the chance to design and build their own products. 

The idea behind FabSpace is to give local residents and entrepreneurs access to high-tech digital, manufacturing equipment, like a laser cutter, or 3D printer. Project organizer, Jeff Opt, says it’s part of a new industrial revolution.

“It’s very good confluence of both technology and community working together," he says.

Opt and his partner, Erin Vasconcelos have spent the last two and a half years researching other so-called “maker spaces’ around the country.

Credit Yellow Cab Tavern

“So we’ve got our vision refined enough—we are interested in the Fab Lab tool set from MIT and we’ve kind of melded it with the business plan of the Columbus Idea Foundry, and they’ve been doing it for five years now, so we’ve taken those two and tried to mix them together into something that will work for our community,” Opt says.

The couple has begun a capital campaign to raise $120,000 to buy all the equipment outright and update part of the "old" Yellow Cab Co. building in downtown Dayton.

Yellow Cab already bills itself as an "emerging community art space" featuring live entertainment, art shows and more.

Credit Yellow Cab Tavern
"Vandango" event at Yellow Cab

Opt and Vasconcelos say they are raising the money locally and what's collected will remain untouched in a bank account until the full amount is raised. Should they come up short, checks in full will be paid back to the investors. If the campaign is successful, residents will be able to purchase monthly memberships  for use of the equipment. 

Vasconcelos says more is being made in these "maker spaces" than just fabricating parts.  "It's so amazing to hear all the different stories of people going into a maker spaces," she says.   

"Everybody has different ideas and you see all these people, they're starting their own small businesses and becoming successful. You see people making friendships and bonds, people come in and use the equipment and  you're working next to someone who has 20 years of experience running this equipment [next to] a complete novice and they meet and work together and start collaborating.  It's just beautiful to see how it all comes together."