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I’m discovering where the maker meets the lab

By Ben Todd
Posted on November 20, 2014 | Columns | Comments Off on I’m discovering where the maker meets the lab

This semester has been full of new experiences for me.

Even as a sophomore, there are still so many things to experience here on our campus. There is one experience in particular that I have grown fond of – the Maker Lab.

The Maker Lab piqued my curiosity when my professor recommended me to use their laser engraving machine for one of my art projects. I’d heard stories of the place, but the stories could never measure up to standing inside the lab surrounded by a plethora of gadgets. Some tools were familiar, others were foreign, a few were even intimidating to think about using.

Regardless, until that day I came into the lab for my art project, I had never internally squealed so loud in my life.

Watching the laser machine cut my stencils out with such speed and precision gave me the excitement equivalent of a small child seeing his first fireworks show. I was hooked and had full intention of returning to the creative playground.

As I skipped happily out of the lab with my freshly cut stencils in hand, I was also plotting my next excuse to come back to the Maker Lab.

Fortunately, an opportunity revealed itself. The smallest inconvenience in my life had a solution that could be solved by building something. I didn’t like how disorganized my Xbox controllers looked sitting on my counter, so I decided to make them a case/cabinet to be stored in.
I immediately drew rough plans in my sketchbook and designed the cabinet pieces in Illustrator. After finding a prime piece of wood I returned to the Maker Lab, excited to build. This time, I got to see the wood cutting machine in action. Once my pieces were cut out, I started to sand and glue them together encountering many issues along the way.

I didn’t expect to create the perfect project the first time through. My cabinet ended up having design issues that required a lot of improvisation, but even with these setbacks, I’m actually proud of myself for rolling with the punches.

The cabinet for my controllers is currently sitting in the Maker Lab waiting for my schedule to free up so I can finish it, and once that project is done, I already have ideas for another.

With the holidays closing in on us, I’m going to try to create some small holiday gifts for my friends and family. No longer do I have to give my list to Santa’s workshop, I AM SANTA’S WORKSHOP! (Laughs maniacally while holding 3-D printed hammer)

In all seriousness, the Maker Lab is awesome. Go check it out!

avatar Posted by Ben Todd on Nov 20th, 2014 and filed under Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  - This post has been viewed 7133 times.

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