Open Source Maker Labs (OSML) opened in 2014 as North County’s first and only maker space and business incubator. Founded by a retired U.S. Navy Captain, Dan Hendricks, OSML’s mission is to develop the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and leaders.
Palomar College STEM Academy at OSML
The lab is located in the Vista Business Park, which is zoned for Industrial R&D – which is a perfect fit for the kinds of operations conducted at OSML. Within its 3000 square foot facility, members have access to a wide variety of design and rapid prototyping tools that can be used to develop and test almost any kind of product. For example, thanks to a new partnership program with SOLIDWORKS for entrepreneurs and startups, members can have access to the full commercial suite of their advanced design tools at OSML. Rapid prototyping capabilities include 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, metalworking, welding, electronics and an advanced computing lab.
OSML has a long history of developing young professionals for the best jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Through partnerships with local colleges and universities, hundreds of students have completed design challenges that have given them a solid advantage in successfully competing for the best jobs in STEM.
UCSD Vulcan-1 rocket fabricated at OSML
Some of their successes include hosting a team of undergrads from the University of California – San Diego that needed a place to build and test a 20-foot liquid-fueled rocket with a 3D printed engine. The team was sponsored by NASA, and in addition to the lab space and equipment, OSML provided the systems engineering mentoring, safety and oversight throughout the project, resulting in a successful test flight in the Mojave desert. Since graduating, many of the team members have started careers with SpaceX, NASA JPL, and Virgin Orbit.
Another program with California State University – San Marcos gave their physics majors the opportunity to apply their theoretical learning to a team-based challenge: design an environmental sensor package, get it into near space with a high altitude balloon, and recover the data (and video) for analysis. OSML has led three successful high altitude balloon flights to near space, providing students with practical experience to round out their academics. Other projects include four cohorts of Palomar College’s STEM Academy for incoming STEMtrack students, and pilot programs with MiraCosta College.
Team of middle school girls that won Student Spaceflight Experiments Program challenge; their experiment flew onboard the International Space Station
OSML provides a variety of hands-on workshops for all skill levels
OSML has become a hub of innovation in North County by connecting a growing community of emerging talent, mentors, entrepreneurs, and local industry. For local small to medium sized manufacturers, they serve as a coworking space for research and development. Local companies that need to develop or improve their products come to OSML to use their rapid prototyping equipment (and expertise) without interrupting their own production lines. As a business incubator, OSML also hosts several early-stage startup companies that are developing products in the medical, energy and defense sectors.
North County San Diego has been emerging as a well-developed technology hub with solid economic growth, and OSML has been an active catalyst for this. OSML is a founding member of the Startup78 program, initiated by Innovate78 (a consortium of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and the five cities along the CA78 corridor – Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido). OSML also hosts Open Source Saturdays, a successful program of the San Diego Tech Hub that brings together technology professionals for weekly sessions of software skills development, networking and cross-mentoring.
OSML is a hub for San Diego’s North County startup ecosystem