Whether or not makerspaces can help you with production (not just prototyping) typically depends how many items you need to make. If you make hand-crafted leather custom purses for celebrities one week at a time, that’s very different than needing 500 purses ready to be shipped to JCPenny. Some makerspaces have restrictions around how often you can use the shared machines, so if you are getting ready to start producing many units, be sure to check with the managers first. Since they typically work with product-based businesses, the managers may also have some suggestions for where you can find production-scale equipment.
Often the names are used interchangeably: both are spaces created by members of the community to support each other in creating and building their new projects. They might be a non-profit or for profit but they’re one thing’s for sure, you’ll find people who are trying to make all types of things, whether jewelry or hacking a robot to fold your laundry. #LifeHacks. Sometimes, hackerspaces are used to refer to areas where people predominantly work with software & hardware, where makerspaces refer to spaces where you work with non-electronic products, but those designations are loose
For many people, the cost of buying and maintaining prototyping and manufacturing equipment can be prohibitively high, and setting up the equipment is often incredibly complex and sometimes dangerous. At makerspaces, the costs of the equipment are spread out over all members of the space, and the maintenance is done by trained professionals. While you might be able to do some basic building out of your garage, makerspaces can help you do larger scale projects, or create more units of what you’re trying to make, or do projects that require highly specialized equipment. Plus of course don’t forget about all the great humans you’ll meet
Some makerspaces have fees for membership or one time used, some makerspaces are free and have community items for everyone to share, while other makerspaces are only for students at a specific university. Typically, paid makerspaces will have different plans based on how often you plan to use the space and how much space you will need. Additionally, some makerspaces require you to pay for training on the machines. Make sure to check ahead of time, and if the prices are prohibitive, check to see if they have any scholarship opportunities for entrepreneurs
That really depends on which makerspace you go to and what industries they focus on. For hardware-focused makerspaces, they might have soldering equipment and circuit boards to make electronics. Some may have sewing machines or leather-punches for fashion, while others might have or CNC machines for metal, saws for wood, or 3-D printers for prototyping. The makerspaces website will typically detail which equipment they have, and what training is required to use the machines.