Making things from metal, wood, and plastic is great. They’re durable and last long. But without proper machinery and expertise, it can be quite a challenge. Fortunately for Toronto’s intrepid makers, there is the Ultimate Workshop, one of the few Industrial makers’ spaces in Toronto. Located in the Junction (22 Cariboo Ave) since 2013 and open daily from 10am-8pm (and by appointment, for you night owls & early birds), the membership-based Workshop is, in its founder’s words, “a space full of tools and equipment to let you creativity run wild.” Mr. Charles Hartlaub, the mastermind behind the Ultimate Workshop, recently spoke with Toronto Made about what people will find at the Ultimate Workshop and what inspired him to open the Ultimate Workshop.
Q: What is the Ultimate Workshop?
The Ultimate Workshop is a space where people can create physical functional prototypes, mock ups and test their ideas and inventions. You can think of us as a garage for tinkering, with lots of tools.
Q: What does your membership consist of? What equipment do members have access to?
Membership consists of use of the space and equipment to design, create and test your ideas. We have a CNC (Computer numerical control) milling machine, a several lathes, a bandsaw, drill press, and a plethora of hand and power tools.
We also offer training and assistance in everything from basic hand tools usage all the way up to welding, CNC mill programming, and Computer Aided Design. If you have a project to build, we're here to help.
Q: What is a typical Ultimate Workshop member?
There is no typical member. We have all sorts of people, from all sorts of backgrounds. Musicians, technicians, engineers and retirees. The common thread is a passion for creating things with your hands, and a willingness to open up and share their ideas to make them better.
Q: What is coolest project created at the Ultimate Workshop?
Everything is pretty cool. But I have to say the one the rises to the top is an Engine that was made from scratch for the Shell Eco Challenge by the University of Toronto super mileage Team. They created an engine which had a fuel consumption of 2750 miles/gallon.
Q: Some local manufacturers have complained that its hard to find local workers with the necessary trade/labour skills. Do you find that people join UW to develop their "job skills"?
Definitely! People join the Workshop for all kinds of reason. Some are pure hobbyists, some are working on specific projects, and others just want to practice and develop their skills. That’s what makes the Workshop such an exciting place—so many things are going on at the same time, everyone is doing something different. It’s very inspiring.
Q: What inspired you to open the Ultimate Workshop?
I am an Industrial Model Maker by trade and I always loved making things. But outside of school or a company facility, there was never a place where I could go to work on personal projects. So I thought, if I need it someone else will also make use of a place like this.
Q: How many years have you been making or tinkering with things?
Since I was a toddler. My grandmother used to get so angry at me when I would take apart my all the toys and never put them back together. I just wanted to know how they worked. My Dad was a mechanic and I was helping rebuild engines when I was 5.
Find out more about the Ultimate Workshop and how to become a member at http://www.ultimateworkshop.ca/