Skip to main content
Reviewed

Inside the Artisan's Asylum

We take a closer look at one of America's biggest makerspaces.

Credit:

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Spanning more than 40,000 square feet, the Artisan's Asylum in Somerville, Massachusetts, is one of the biggest makerspaces in America.

At any given time, the place is swarming with all manner of artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists. And it's home to some nifty projects, from the enormously successful, like the 3Doodler 3D printer, to the utterly bizzare, like a 10-foot, six-legged vehicular hexapod.

Regardless of what these cutting-edge innovators are inventing, the question that drives all their projects is the same: Why not?

We had the opportunity to swing by the facility last week while researching our weekly column for USA Today, and we wound up with tons of outtakes and extra shots we were dying to share. So, without further ado, here's a deeper look inside the Asylum.


Skunkadelia's tig-welded robot sculptures.

Skunkadelia's tig-welded robot sculptures.


A common area

Common area


Welding gear in a typical studio space.

Welding gear in a typical studio space.


A design illustration of Project Hexapod.

A design illustration of Project Hexapod.


The disassembled hexapod from Project Hexapod.

Project Hexapod is far from complete, but you can get a sense of how immense this thing really is.


A robot sculpture advertising Somerville's SCUL chopper bicycle gang.

A robot sculpture advertising Somerville's SCUL chopper bicycle gang.


A man sawing into a piece of metal.

Sparks fly in the chop shop.


Another tig-welded robot sculpture from Skunkadelia.

Another tig-welded robot sculpture from Skunkadelia.


A MultiCam CNC router.

A MultiCam CNC router.


A replica of R2D2 from Star Wars.

R2D2... Because why not?


A bench full of microscopes.

Science. So much science.


K. Gretchen Greene uses a plasma cutter to slice through steel.

K. Gretchen Greene uses a plasma cutter to slice through steel.


Clutter in a rented space.

This space looks like it's been here longer than the Asylum.


A man drafts plans for a weld.

Drafting plans in the metal shop.


A hall at the Artisan's Asylum.

Sort of Kubrickian, no?


Rants: $0.05/minute. He pays you.


A scanning electron microscope.

Harvard University (just a couple miles away) donated this scanning electron microscope to Artisan's Asylum. It's a first for the makerspace community.


Chopper bicycles.

The SCUL chopper bicycle gang stores its fleet at Artisan's Asylum.


A large bird-man structure.

A bird/man project that one would guess is destined for Burning Man.


Some sort of large hieroglyphic structure.

Some sort of Aztec sculpture/project/thing.


A large bird puppet suspended from the ceiling.

More big birds probably destined for Burning Man.


Typical studio space at Artisan's Asylum

Typical studio space


Two 3D printers.

The Asylum has too many 3D printers to count.


A large milling machine.

A large milling machine.

Up next