Tesla Truck Wants To Bring The Makerspace To The Children

With so many budget cuts, many public schools find themselves having to cut “unnecessary” programs such as shop, art, and music classes. They simply can’t afford to keep those things running and also teach other important concepts like math, language, and history. The obvious side effect is that kids don’t have a safe place to be creative and learn to make things with their hands.

Luckily, the maker movement has been rapidly growing over the last few years with makerspaces popping up all over the globe. These places are picking up the slack left behind by the budget cuts that hurt our public schools. But while makerspaces are getting more and more common, they still don’t exist everywhere. Even in those places lucky enough to have a makerspace, not everyone is aware that they exist and not everyone can afford to be a full-time member. This is where Tesla Truck comes in.

The Tesla Truck’s mission statement is “to provide a cutting-edge, mobile, hands-on STEM lab, where students, teachers, and makers can teach, learn, collaborate, create, and innovate.” It’s a noble cause for sure, but how do they plan to do this? This group intends to outfit a truck with the kinds of tools every maker dreams of. These would include a 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC plasma cutter, mill and lathe, electronics bench, and more.

Obviously just having a bunch of high-end tools is not going to cut it. Someone is going to have to teach people how to properly use these tools. The group behind the Tesla Truck is made up of educators, engineers, and published researches who have been doing this kind of thing for a while now. This group has been packing up their own personal tools into their hatchbacks and setting up shop in school classrooms around New York City, only to have to break down at the end of the day and bring them all home again. Together with the students, this group has built things like robots, quadcopters, and water purifiers. The Tesla Truck will give them the ability to reach more people much more easily.

The Tesla Truck is looking to raise a total of $62,804.01 to make their dream a reality. They have raised more than half of that outside of crowd funding. They’ve now turned to Indiegogo to raise the last $24,300. They have ten days left and they are almost halfway to their goal. You can watch their campaign video below to get a better feel for what they are all about.

21 thoughts on “Tesla Truck Wants To Bring The Makerspace To The Children

    1. They can find it whatever they want, but legally they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Trademarks only restricts people from using it in the same line of business, and Tesla in particular is not exactly a new term.

      If they’re smart, they’ll sponsor it instead.

  1. Like feeding bears and licking frozen flag poles, outsiders shouldn’t encourage the Leave No Moron Behind public schools. The States spend more money per student then almost anyone else in the world, yet “graduate” some of the weakest, lamest, stupidest kids in the world. They don’t need a Telsa Truck, they need a reality check or a nuclear bomb, probably both.

      1. No, the government and the apathetic parents are punishing the kids enough, but for 99% of the kids, it doesn’t matter – they’re even more stupid, more apathetic, more couch potato-esque then their parents. Plummeting test scores, ginormous increase in 90 level freshmen classes, dismal number of AP tests being taken (let alone passed) – all point to America’s doom. When the movie Idiocracy came out in 2006, I thought it was funny, now in 2014 I’m scared it’s a glimpse of whats soon to come.

  2. With campaigns like this I always wonder if the project owner is looking for a way to finance tools that he will be using for himself.
    (3D printer, laser cutter, CNC plasma cutter, mill and lathe, electronics bench, …)

    1. I don’t know if that’s the case, but does it really matter? As long as it meets the goal of helping children to learn, I’d say the project owner can make as many however many widgets and gizmos as they like.

      1. “As long as it meets the goal of helping children to learn”

        That should be the goal.. I wondered if that’s the goal or a “cover-up” to get him a new set of tools. That’s what I meant.

    2. I can see a few issues with this truck::

      1, Their plans look wrong. what’s the point in a 3d model in the video 1:50 is the scale is clearly wrong.
      the van looks like an old bread delivery van, but compared to the printers and power tools has to be semi sized. – which is a big problem, either their plans are just fundamentally wrong, or their budget is fundamentally wrong -they won’t get a truck of that size -scaled against the tools for that money. (or they’ll have an old truck that breaks frequently)

      2, Vehicles such as this can make great “learning” spaces (where you just look at stuff being made like a mobile lecture theatre,) or they can make great engineering spaces (such as the trucks that follow around racing teams) but rarely manage to do both at the same time, to be a great learning space you need space so that people can gather round and look, for engineering you need tools!

      3, Taking a bunch of power tools to the local car park is an insurance nightmare. there is no budget for insurance. this project cannot possibly work without it, or will be shut down abd bankrupt soon without it.

      4, I can’t talk about America, but certainly in the UK, those who wish to work with Children and other “vulnerable” people can or should be checked out to make sure that they are not known offenders, this is referred to as a CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) – to find out if they have a criminal past. (This may mean that they cannot work with certain sectors of the community depending on their past). -there is no talk of time or people dedicated to that sort of paper work -nothing regarding the costs either.

      Their goals seem really great, but it’s so astonishingly difficult to get something like this actually started. they seem to have issues looking at the real size of vehicle that they need, if they get a beat up truck then this project is likely to be off the road more than it is on the road. there is no details on the ongoing costs. are these students expected to bring their own materials, who’s paying for the Gas, or registrations etc. how are they policing their events etc.

      There is a huge difference between opening a shop to kids for a day with people around to supervise machines and run work shops, and bringing a van load of tools

      I’ve no doubt that they will get the funding, and that they will get the tools. but whether they will ever manage the fulfil the project I doubt.

      This may be a cool idea, but I really can’t see it as anything but ending up as a project starters cheap way to fill their garage, whilst they get to say that they tried to get the truck on the road, but insurance said that they couldn’t use the tools etc.

      “we tried, but the big bad government/insurance corp/municipal authorities [whatever] just won’t let us”.

      As for the bigger problem with reduced funding. it’s likely no mistake that most politicians are readers of history rather than teachers of science.
      Their priorities are with the humanities as those are the subjects that they took and loved in school.

  3. I grew up in a poor country where any problem required creative solutions that would have to fit in a small budget. There is a tendency in North America to simply throw money at a problem. It is much easier to do so than to actually look for a real solution.

    1. With the availability of cheap manufactured goods it is often times cheaper, if not faster, to throw it out than to spend an afternoon repairing it.
      It is a shame that this has resulted in a loss of what were once common skills. Surface mount and micro-manufacturing have also made it difficult if not impossible to repair many things for all but the most dedicated hobbyist.

      1. That has to depend how wewould otherwise wewould spend the time we use to DIY. Yes if you would be spending it earning an income worth more that the time we spend DIY it’s a win give the busted stuff ti a hobbyist and purchase new items. On the other hand if you spend the weekend & work week earnings drinking beer watching TV as we idlely scratch our nuts, we are better off fixing shit, and trying to get ahead. I once knew an old timer who said he got out of the electrics business when, point to point circuit wiring, gave way to PCB

    2. So why is not a real solution? Taking their own personal tools and using their their personal vehicles to transport the tools from school to schools was being creative, I’d think. Poor is poor, doesn’t matter if it’s a poor country or Poor neighborhood… What are your doing in your country, that could work well in poor neighborhoods in a wealthy country?

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