Everything starts with an idea. But how does an idea turn into something more than that? How is an idea sparked, considered, tinkered with, reworked, and developed enough that it can continue its journey into a real-life, bonafide creation?
There isn’t just one answer. But there is an answer, one that captures the essence of an idea’s transformation into reality, and it’s at the intersection of art, science, and technology.
At that intersection you’ll find Generator VT.
Generator is many things. It’s a combination of artist studios, classrooms, and a business incubator. It’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It’s a makerspace. And for many it’s a third place – a community. They are made up of members, and becoming one gives you access to specialty workshops, education, expertise, tools, and over 12,500 square feet of workspace.
Generator organizes a number of educational programs like JumpStart, a twelve-week program that provides coaching, mentorship, membership and more, to help makers with product ideas grow and launch their businesses. They also host an Artist-in-Residence program, supporting artists, designers, and entrepreneurs to advance and realize their innovative ideas by providing access to their facilities, tools, and collaborative hivemind.
They are home base for small businesses, they facilitate workshops for youth in Vermont – the list goes on and on. OnLogic’s relationship with Generator was formed more than seven years ago and has been growing and evolving since.
Generator’s educational programs align with OnLogic’s commitment to social responsibility, helping to promote and support STEAM education and careers, or as Generator puts it, STEEAM (gotta squeeze entrepreneurship in there). Check out their website to explore all of the ways that they are supporting Vermonters in testing, re-imaging, and bringing their ideas to life.
The right tools for the job
Ideas need resources, and space to form, and supplies, and educators, and machinery – a laser cutter, for example. Laser cutters are often used in industrial manufacturing, but also by artists and hobbyists. For Generator, the laser cutter is one of their most impactful and versatile pieces of equipment.
It’s beginner friendly, has a wide range of applications, and is the piece of equipment most frequently used by members and youth program participants. It teaches rapid prototyping and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software, and is often the first piece of equipment that folks learn before graduating onto more complicated machinery such as their CNC router or plasma cutter.
Laser Cutters are used by the majority of school classes at Generator, and multiple small businesses run out of Generator rely on the laser cutters to produce their products and packaging.
That being said, the two well-used, and well-loved laser cutters at Generator are over eight years old and have started to slow down, leading to longer wait times, and some cancellations of youth programs. To continue to support members, and to keep their community growing, it was deemed time for a new addition to the laser cutter family – the Epilog Pro 48, to be specific.
Helping to make it possible
At OnLogic we are acutely familiar with the process of approaching an idea or a problem and figuring out how to make a solution possible. Every day our customers present our team of experts with challenges they are looking to overcome. Whether it’s solving agricultural dilemmas with a robotic fruit harvester, creating one-of-a-kind video souvenirs out in the wild, or preventing mining downtime with LiDAR, we help advance their ideas with powerful, reliable industrial computing solutions.
That’s why, when Generator reached out to our Opportunity Team and asked us to partner with them to fund a portion of the new equipment, we jumped right on board. As part of the Summer Appeal, a seasonal fundraising campaign, we matched up to $5,000 in contributions. The goal was successfully achieved and the new laser cutter now has a happy new home at Generator.
To celebrate this milestone, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to bring together contributors, supporters, and community members, including a few members of the OnLogic team.
The event was energizing and filled with stories. Stories of learning the value of failing, and how important it is to have a proverbial net like Generator to catch you and keep you moving forward. Stories of ideas that were nurtured at Generator, and that have since been turned into successful businesses. And stories of all sorts of unbelievably creative ideas from the minds of makers and artists.
We look forward to sharing a few of these stories in the future. The impact of Generator’s existence on folks in attendance was something that you could feel in the room that night, and OnLogic is honored to be able to be part of it.
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Holly is a Marketing Coordinator at OnLogic, a role that provides just the right blend of creativity and project management. She loves traveling, hiking, and getting to experience new things, so when she’s not working you’ll likely find her hanging out at a coffee shop, painting furniture, or hopping on a bus, train, or plane to somewhere new.