New ‘Makerspace’ Initiative Opens to Students

By SOPHIA HO

The “Makerspace” initiative — a free technological resource located in a first floor conference room of Carl Becker House — was created by a graduate student at the start of this semester to provide a space for technological invention and hands on experimentation with 3D printing for students on campus.

Makerspace was created by Sean Patev grad earlier this year when he used $1,500 of his allotted programming funds to acquire a basic 3D printer. As a graduate resident fellow in Becker House, Patev said he was expected to create initiatives for residents of the building.

“Makerspace evolved organically from a nebulous idea for [an] open resource for students,” he said.

Students now have easy access to utilizing the 3D printer in the center, that is the primary resource of the space, and can also interact and work with like-minded students who are interested in technological problem solving, according to Patev.

Since its creation, Patev said that students have already been making use of the space and solving technological problems that they encounter.

“Students are really able to utilize the space to figure things out,” he said. “Just last week, a student came in with a broken stereo and we fiddled around with it and fixed it.”

Students have also been using the space for both extracurricular and academic projects, according to Patev.

“In a few hours students were able to make memorabilia,” Patev said. “Basically anything that can fit in a eight inch by eight inch space, we can probably print it. It costs students nothing and in the future most things should still be free based on plastic usage.”

Patev added that several future projects are already planned for the Makerspace as well.

“During finals week we plan on having students design and print cell phone cases,” he said, “If a student comes to me with an idea they have, we can probably figure out how to print it,” he adds.

Additionally, Patev said that through the use of the 3D printer, he and other students were working to create the parts to make a 3D printer for William T. Keeton House as well.

Students have also said that they found the initiative beneficial in helping them gain technical experience.

Jason Flahie ’16 said that the hands-on experience using the printer was invaluable experience for him as an engineer.

“It’s great being able to learn about the actual operation of the printer, Flahie said. “I took a class, [Mechanical Synthesis], where I designed components and products, but I did not actually get to see the printer in action to see the printing speed and temperature.”

Similarly West Campus resident Eric Fiegel ’17 said that he hopes more students take advantage of the opportunity to use the 3D printer.

“It’s fun to work on various projects and see what other people are doing,” Fiegel said. “I think it could stand to gain some more popularity, but once it does I think a lot of people could benefit from learning about cool technology related things.”

The initiative will take on more student involvement in the fall when student leaders, including Flahie, will teach other students how to navigate the space, according to Patev.

Flahie said he is looking forward to get a chance to instruct other students.

“Next semester it will be a semester-long project. I will get to teach people how to design and carry out some of the 3D projects,” Flahie said.

Eventually, Patev hopes that the Makerspace will be a technological resource open to any and all people regardless of their previous experience.

“We hope to make it a space where tools and information is available.With no training, people can come in and build real things. It would just be a tech resource open to everyone,” Patev said.

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