A participant in the MAxT Makerspace welding program. Courtesy photo.
The MAxT Makerspace in Peterborough is developing a welder community through a partnership with Phaze Welding Technology Center in an effort to provide more skilled workers to area manufacturers and construction companies. In addition to preparing students to become American Welding Society Certified welders (the first such course in NH), the Makerspace is offering welding courses for hobbyists.
The certificate program is 130 hours and students take it at their own pace. The program teaches attendees basic MIG, flux core, and stick welds. At the end of the course, students take the AWS test to qualify for jobs in the building, transportation and sheet metal industries among others. Welders must be AWS certified to work in North America. Full training is $5,000 for members of MAxT and $8,000 for non-members.
Both welding and certification training are taught by Dan Guillou, president and owner of Guillou’s Construction Services in Deering and lead trainer and owner of Phaze Welding Technology Center, which is located within the Makerspace’s new facility at 49 Vose Farm Road.
Since launching classes in 2018, Guillou says 35 students have participated, and one full-time student has taken the certification program. “The biggest problem I have is getting in front of the students that would be in line for that kind of program,” Guillou says. He is in talks with both the ConVal and Deering school districts about the potential of sending students through his program.
“I want to draw from a 30-mile radius of Peterborough,” he says, adding that there is a real need for welders.
To accommodate the welding program, MAxT Makerspace has invested in its new facility by making electrical improvements and adding welding booths. “We’re committed and that certain this will be a big thing for us,” says Makerspace Director Roy Schlieben.
The welding school is just one of many initiatives the Makerspace is undertaking since moving to its larger location last year. The nonprofit is also raising funds for a coworking and educational center to provide office and meeting space to startups.
MAxT has evolved since first opening in 2015. In the first two years, it attracted 50 members, which prompted the 2018 move to a new 8,000-square-foot space that serves woodworkers, textile designers, seamstresses and fashion designers, among others. In addition to the shared shop, the Makerspace offers 10 studio spaces that members can rent. The organization now has 75 members, and Schlieben says he expects that number to grow because of the coworking spaces and the expansion of amenities and programs. “We’re growing into the space,” he says. A basic membership that allows 24/7 access is $35 per month, while rental spaces range from $90 to $275 per month.
“It’s been quite a journey. I did not expect to be where we are so fast,” Schlieben says, who adds that he is developing a business accelerator program as well.
For more information, visit maxtmakerspace.org.