The ACU Maker Lab will celebrate its first birthday Oct. 10 in the Brown Library Atrium. The Maker Lab is a facility in what use to be the ACU Library archives.
“The Maker Lab is a place where we give a form to ideas,” said Nil Santana, Maker Lab director. “It’s part of the maker movement, a movement that started in the US and has since become international. If you’re familiar to the do-it-yourself culture, you would feel at home. It’s like DIY with a step up.”
Students can often be found tinkering on projects, assignments and flexing their creative muscles. The Maker Lab boasts a wide assortment of hand tools, power tools, basic shop equipment and an arsenal of sewing machines. There are also three 3D printers, a 24×18 inch laser cutter and a CNC router the size of a car.
Students are encouraged to come and utilize the resources provided by the Maker Lab, with the assistance of the makers on duty. The makers on duty, much like a shop foreman, are there to ensure a safe environment and help instruct students how to properly use the equipment.
The Maker Lab first opened its doors to the public Oct. 15, 2013. In the fall semester, 172 students used the lab. The following spring semester recorded more than 1,700 card swipes to allow Maker Lab use and 3,783 hours of recorded student contact. The majority of users had never had contact with such equipment previous to visiting the Maker Lab.
“It’s really cool teaching students to do something with their hands they never expected they could accomplish,” said Chad Longley, Maker Lab manager.
Items created over the last year will be on display during Homecoming weekend.
The Maker Lab’s first anniversary celebration will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the library atrium located behind Starbucks. The Maker Lab will host making activities, having door prizes and give-aways and providing lessons for soldering and how to use the laser cutter.