Makerspace Feature

 

Shira Tarlo

9 September 2015

Bucknell Maker Space

Nestled inside Seventh Street Studio between the Craft Center and Seventh Street Café lies the University’s newest hot spot: the Makerspace.

The Makerspace just opened this semester as the University finally decided to join the race of technological advancement, with an emphasis on design and innovation.

The Makerspace boasts four 3D printers and scanners, a laser cutter, vacuum former, vinyl cutter, tabletop woodworking tools, and a bank of computers with the latest design software. The Makerspace is open from noon to 10 p.m Monday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Emma Bertram ’17 spent this summer attending an engineering camp at the University, learning how to use the tools in the Makerspace.

“The camp worked in partnership with the Purple Platypus, a local children’s store, so we designed children’s toys like transformable cars, stomp rockets, and telescopes and made them using the 3D printers,” Bertram said.

Emily Malmquist ’18 works at the Makerspace and loves using the 3D printer. Malmquist emphasizes that the Makerspace is a creative space for all students, regardless of their majors.

“3D printers can actually be used to make useful, everyday objects. If your phone case just broke or you don’t have a doorstop, just come on in to the Makerspace and print one!” Malmquist said. 

Certainly, any student can use the machines in the Makerspace, but safety training for machines and tools is required in order to do so. The safety training process requires students to come into the space to read and watch tutorials about the machines. After doing so, each student is required to pass a safety quiz to prove he or she is well-equipped on how to use the various tools. In passing the quiz, students are awarded badges to symbolize their proficiency with the safety rules.

After passing the safety quiz, students are required to complete hands-on training for the machines and tools. The training is led by student technicians who also monitor the Makerspace and assist other students, faculty, and staff members with their ideas and projects.

Every student technician has various skills: some specialize in using the 3D printers while others are expert vinyl cutters. Currently, every technician works different hours. Upon entering the Makerspace, a large calendar with every technician’s working hours and specialties is displayed, so students who want to learn how to use specific machines can know when to come in.

Kristi Kong ’18 is a certified Makerspace technician. Kong landed a job in the Makerspace after impressing her Drawing I professor with her creative designs last semester. Like any student, she is still learning how to use the machines in the Makerspace.

“I work here, and I like to make cool stuff when I do. Today I 3D printed a small cube; it was super easy. My friend, however, printed a 3D Pokemon figure yesterday, which was cool. A lot of people have come in and made figurines too,” Kong said.

Kong is currently training herself to use the vinyl cutter in hopes of making stickers and posters to decorate her dorm room.

Whether you plan on using the new Makerspace for schoolwork or just want to make something cool for your dorm room, this new spot on campus is definitely a place to check out.

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