EDGEWATER — The couple with plans to open a you-fix-it center have moved their operation north to Thorndale Avenue after issues with a rundown storefront under the Bryn Mawr "L" station proved to be insurmountable.
Ally Brisbin and Stuart Marsh announced their plans in January to open a workshop, called Edgewater Workbench, devoted to helping people fix their broken stuff.
They'd worked out a deal with the Chicago Transit Authority and Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) to use a vacant storefront at 1116 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. for free. But plumbing, electrical and other issues were too much to fix, even for the handy couple, Brisbin said Tuesday.
So Brisbin and Marsh began looking for a new storefront, and they found one at 1130 W. Thorndale Ave., just one Red Line stop away.
"It is in such better condition than the CTA space," Brisbin said.
There's other good news, too.
Edgewater Workbench was one of four winners in Absolut vodka's Transform Today Challenge. The couple won $20,000 to buy a fleet of 3-D printers and laser cutters.
And they'll be available for anyone to use when the workshop opens sometime this summer.
Brisbin said printing in 3-D, to make spare parts — like washers, connectors, buttons, spacers — is the wave of the future.
"Every neighborhood has a print shop; We’re thinking that in the future every neighborhood would have a 3-D print center," she said.
She and Marsh also hope to involve community schools and organizations with the effort.
"We see 3-D printing as not just a novelty, like to make little toys," she said. "It’s a different way to think about problems in general."
She said Stuart, an animator with experience working with 3-D printers, would help people design whatever they needed.
The laser cutters won't be strong enough to cut metal, but can etch and burn through wood and plastic.
A woodworking area would also be set up in the center. Brisbin also says the center would have tools, Wi-Fi and bottomless coffee.
"We think that it’ll really take off," Brisbin said of Edgewater Workbench.