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Rick Martens displays a toy created from his Afinia H-series 3D laser printer. Photo by Victoria Dinh.

In a building just off of Albert Street in Regina, a neon “Open” sign flashes through a dusty storefront. Peering into the windows adorned with mechanical structures, shelves upon shelves of robotic knickknacks line the walls. On the door is a small sticker indicating the building’s purpose – it reads, CrashBang Labs.


By the back corner next to the laser cutter, James Evans empties a bag of nuts and bolts and begins to organize them. “We’re essentially like a community workshop which people are free to come in and work on whatever projects they desire,” he said. Evans holds an applied electronic technician certification and is currently the president of the communal workspace, or as the members call it, a makerspace.


According to the CrashBang website, a makerspace is “a physical location with tools, equipment, and supplies for taking things apart and putting things together. It’s a network of people who are curious about the way things work and want to be able to build, fix, and customize the things they own.”


Past Evans and up a set of stairs is Rick Martens’ workspace. Martens is the director of programming and communications for CrashBang Labs. He is also an entrepreneur, using the shared space to get his toy company – Red Toy Box: The Toy Factory – up and running.

Rick Martens, director of programming and communications for CrashBang Labs, is also an entrepreneur using the shared space to get his toy company – Red Toy Box: The Toy Factory – up and running. Photo by Victoria Dinh. 

“All the tools that I’ve used, I’ve purchased but I don’t have any space to put them in to operate out of – so I put them into this space,” said Martens. His workspace is on the top loft of the building overlooking the lab. “The benefit of this space is that other members get to use [my] tools. So they have access to a few tools that this space might not be able to afford themselves and then I have a location to go to use the tools as well.”


Last year, Martens purchased an Afinia H-series 3D laser printer for the production of his prototype toys. It was the top model of 2014 and cost him a pretty penny. “I’ll be starting with Lego weapons, and then eventually, I’ll move into all areas of toys: plush toys, wooden toys, plastic toys, like action figures and stuff. I also want to get into Nerf guns and water guns as well,” he said, displaying some of his 3D creations.

Toys created from Rick Martens' Afinia H-series 3D laser printer at CrashBang Labs. Photo by Victoria Dinh.


Martens is currently waiting for final approval from the Business Development Bank of Canada before he can move forward with production.


Rod Slamp is a local animator in Regina with a passion for talking animal. He has been involved with the local makerspace movement for the past three years and has high hopes of using CrashBang Labs to further his animation capabilities.


“If you live in an apartment or live with a family, you won’t want to use up space for a table saw or an electronics workbench,” Slamp said. “The laser cutter makes pretty nasty smells, so once again, you don’t want to stink up your house. So the space is for the equipment – [it’s a] space for making a mess.”


Since CrashBang Labs is a non-profit organization, a significant portion of the space’s income comes from membership. This year it is partially supplemented with corporate sponsorship by Young’s Equipment Inc. and iQmetrix.


“The allure of it is for people to be independent,” said Slamp. “We’ll provide advice, we’ll provide parts, we might even do a little bit of the work, but the concept is [that] you can come here and you can fix it – we can help you.”


So far, the space has grown to around 25 members with the number of new applicants continuing to rise. “Membership is $30 a month or $300 for a year. That’s approximately half the price of comparable makerspaces across Canada,” Evans said.


With the move from The Exchange to their new location downtown over the past year, interest levels from the public have been growing – adhering to a spectrum of characters with various technological needs.


“This is a group of geeks – someone’s going to know how to do things,” said Slamp. “I can have a specialist in anything and it’s part of the membership. We can [also] meet at the space and build something – try things out.”