Darjis Vickers, among the first cohort of students at Humanmade, works on a sphere for a personal project.. (Théophile Larcher/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Nonprofit launches manufacturing training facility in Design District

A nonprofit offering hands-on training in design and manufacturing is set to open in San Francisco’s Design District.

Humanmade, described as “San Francisco’s first non-profit community-based manufacturing, prototyping, and training facility,” will hold a grand opening at its 13,500 square foot facility at 150 Hooper St. on Saturday, in an event that organizers hope could draw hundreds of people and some public officials. The company opened to the public on July 13.

Despite an increasingly automated manufacturing industry, Humanmade aims to train a workforce still required to design the required hardware and democratize access to the tools of innovation to individuals from all walks of life.”

“I see people focusing on coding to become developers, but I don’t see anyone who is supporting the manufacturing side of a business where ultimately the software goes,” said Ryan Spurlock, 40, its executive director and founder.

“Tesla struggled to get cars out of the factories because they can’t bring qualified workers,” said Spurlock.

The company offers multiple workshops and training sessions for individuals in a training facility equipped with a full machine, wood and metal shops, laser cutters, etchers and 3D printers. Workshops cost around $50/hour and last from two to five hours.

“When you are learning here, you are constantly in the middle of the process. It’s not just theoretical,” said Spurlock.

It also offers a 12-week city-funded job skills training program for 45 people. The nonprofit will celebrate its first three graduates from the program on Saturday.

Darjis Vickers, 20, is among the first cohort of students. Vickers is a sophomore in graphic design at City College of San Francisco and has participated in the 12-week program as a part-time trainee at Humanmade.

Vickers said he developed an interest in mastering 3D modeling and the CNC machining when he learned it could turn his logo designs into physical products.

Vickers said he wants to learn to work with his hands and has plans to become an entrepreneur in the jewelry industry. He has since been hired for a full-time job in a partnered company that has not been made public yet.

Spurlock is not new to the manufacturing industry.

He created Humanmade from the ashes of Techshop, a company at 926 Howard St. he ran as a general manager until its Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2017.

“When it closed, it was not just a business to me. I was people that I got to see grow with their babies and their companies getting successful. It was personal,” said Spurlock.

Mark Schmick, 53, an entrepreneur, is one of them.

A former employee at Techshop, Schmick is one of the first five members to have registered at Humanmade.

Schmick paid $400 for a monthly “dedicated desk” to focus on his next project, a device for drone automation that converts to a flight deck, called “BirdHouse.”

Schmick plans on demoing “BirdHouse” at the Grand Opening on Saturday.

Humanmade’s grand opening will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 150 Hooper St.


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