The maker movement has been touted by some as the next industrial revolution (Anderson, 2012; Pettis, 2009; Vance 2010) because it seeks to democratize invention (Aldrich, 2014) through providing technology tools in social spaces that lead to “ever-accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation with ever-dropping barriers to entry” (Anderson, 2012). Makerspaces have emerged as shared fabrication facilities, where makers of all types gather to invent, tinker, build, learn, and iterate using a range of manufacturing technologies.

The connection between makers and entrepreneurship is often mentioned and innovation is frequently cited as a desired outcome, but these linkages are mostly underexplored (Aldrich, 2014; Mortara and Parisot, 2016). We build our theory from the social technology literature (e.g. Simon, 1981; Garud and Karnoe, 2003; Pinch and Bijker, 1984) with the makerspace viewed as a community of technological practice (Constant, 1987) where hardware innovation (design and building of tangible artifacts) occurs that sometimes involves or leads to the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities. Specifically, this study explores the conditions under which makers actualize their design ideas by prototyping and producing items with commercial potential and ultimately bring them to market