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Open Works Baltimore and the Makers Unite Initiative

By Ross Gruet, Friday, July 30, 2021

View video of Bill Young’s interview with Will Holman HERE.

ShopBot’s Bill Young talks with Will Holman of Open Works Baltimore about the history and current state of the Baltimore-based makerspace. Since the beginning of the pandemic, some of the work they have been doing is in the form of Makers Unite, “a collaborative emergency manufacturing effort to combat the Covid-19 crisis in Maryland.” It started with face shields and other forms of PPE, and it took on a life of its own with participation from a collective of companies and individuals looking to serve the greater good.

View video of Bill Young talking about the “pay-it-forward” desk HERE.

One of the projects Open Works Baltimore started last year has been a “pay-it-forward” desk, meant to function as a desk for kids that are currently learning from home. In this video, Bill Young explains the start of Makers Unite, as well as provides more details about the current project.

Bill summarizes it like this: “With kids doing school from home, a lot of them are having to do their work on the kitchen table or dining room table along with their brothers and sisters and then when it’s suppertime, they have to clear everything off... It's hard enough learning from home, away from your teacher, away from your friends, but we shouldn’t make it any more difficult than it has to be.”

When ShopBot learned about the initial requests to Makers Unite for the desks in the Baltimore area (4,000 in the first two days!), we realized that there were more people in need of something like this than a lot of us ever imagined. That’s why we decided to contribute funds to Makers Unite, so that they could build as many desks as possible.


Here are links of interest for the organizations involved in the project and some other things that Bill references:

Open Works website:

Makers Unite:

Makers Unite Desk


Downloadable Plans:

Makers Unite Stool (Pay-it-Forward):

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