Portland Makers Series: ADX

Kelley Roy, ADX founder, and shop buddy. Photo by Will Smith.

Since 2011, Kelley Roy has pulled Portland design/builders into orbit around ADX, the maker space she founded. In 14,000 square feet of studios and fabrication shops, small businesses produce their goods, independent designers feed off each others’ expertise, and hobbyists learn to wield the shop tools with style. Despite being such a maker mecca, ADX doesn’t feel crowded. There’s a lovely chill vibe of two or three people leaning over a table, getting an idea off the ground.

Matt Preston rocks the tools library. John Joffee and Stacie Stevens fabricate wooden hand tools. Photos by @matthewwtaylor.

Work Together

We asked Kelly what inspired her to start ADX, and she explained “Some people are really hungry for that community and physical interaction. I see a lot of people coming to ADX for that reason. The community has lots of different expertise and experience, and by coming together in these spaces they can really work together and innovate if that’s what they’re looking for, or simply work alongside each other and gain new skills. And stay more physically connected in this digital age where everyone is kinda connected through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

The Bridge laser engraver and screen-print studio. Photos by @gastronautdesign, @matthewwtaylor.

Graphics Resources at ADX

So what exactly can ADX do for you if you hail from the world of graphic arts and are not a design/builder? Tons, actually. Are you a silkscreen geek and would love to get down with a laser engraver? The Bridge digital design lab has all the toys you need: 3-D printers, laser engravers, vinyl cutter, fully equipped screen-printing shop with a t-shirt press. Or perhaps you are a graphic designer molting into an environmental designer? ADX is an ideal place to become a multidisciplinary badass. Cross-pollinating different disciplines of design is ADX’s strong suit, and their roster of instructors will show you the ropes in their jewelry, wood metalworking, and screen-printing classes. Class list and membership information here.

ADX ‘Hail Safety’ graphic drying in the screenprint studio- artwork by Will Bryant /ADX logo by OMFGCO.

Photo by @gastronautdesign.

Small Business Incubator

If your day job is a bit slow and you are looking for an inspiring new client, the small businesses operating out of ADX need great branding, don’t they? Since 2011, ADX has incubated over 100 startups, and helped 200 crowd-funded projects reach their goals. Portland Razor Company, Bosque Design, Dinihanian Furniture, Deoria Made, Barrel Craft Studios, Recreation Department all started and/or work here. And ADX just made this mentoring strength official, with a new 10,000-square-foot building housing the shops of a handpicked group of design entrepreneurs. Check out the next Gallery of Makers exhibition taking place in their #ANXGallery. Opening reception on Friday, September 1st, 6-9pm at 1015 SE Stark St.

The ADX /ANX gallery show of work from designers in the ADX incubator program. Photos by @matthewwtaylor.

ADX shared wood shop, and incubator studio space. Photos by @matthewtaylor.

Custom Fabrication Team

ADX is also a resource for agencies and brands needing custom fabrication. They build everything from pFreim tap handles to the Red Bull Flugtag tool bus to mobile privacy rooms for Airbnb’s offices. They describe their work as “value engineered,” but for the local design community to have a small run, high-quality resource like this is more like a decadent treat. Email fab@adxportland.com or learn more here.

ADX Fabrication team signage for Warby Parker, Airbnb privacy hut, Jacobsen Salts. Photos courtesy of ADX.

Specialty coffee drink from Matt Preston. ADX delivery truck: 1949 Plymouth special deluxe, art by Zac Yarrington. Photos @matthewwtaylor.

We could keep playing deep cuts about all the eye candy at ADX, like the delicious ADX branding and signage designed by OMFGCO, the cherry ADX delivery truck (a ’49 Plymouth special deluxe with art by Zac Yarrington), the signature coffee drink at the cafe that will blow your mind. But dear AIGA design geeks, we will stop there, as we don’t want to deny you the treat of discovering ADX for yourself. As the sign out front on 11th Ave suggests “Drop in, take a tour, make some stuff, get your party on.”

See more photos from our visit on AIGA Portland’s Flickr Stream. Thanks to @matthewwtaylor for these images.

Discounts for AIGA & ADX Members

AIGA Portland is excited to announce that ADX now offers a 20% off membership or 10% off classes to Portland AIGA members. To use your membership for an ADX discount, simply email info@adxportland.com with “ADX Membership” in the subject line. To become an AIGA member (starting at just $50 a year) click here.

ADX offers a basic membership for $75 a month, which gives you access to The Bridge digital design lab, shared workspace, tool library, discounts on classes and services (such as CNC cutting and laser cutting) and the option to add access to individual shops. Or you can go big with the unlimited membership for $200 a month with unrestricted access to all of the shops within ADX.

Learn more about ADX

Visit for a free tour

Free tours happen three times a week:

  • Mondays at 6 pm
  • Wednesdays at 10 am
  • Saturdays at 2 pm

417 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

ADX story banner design: Marilee Sweeney

By Marilee Sweeney
Published August 21, 2017
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