MakerSpace Makes Haste to Mark Space

The creative display of partnership between the MakerSpace and the Architecture and Design Club at Club Rush generated students’ interest, but now focus has shifted from getting attention, to keeping it.

MakerSpace club co-president, Joel Simonoff is focusing most of the club’s attention on ways they can drum up more support and excitement to continue the momentum gathered during Club Rush, which caused the club’s Facebook page to gain 90 new members.

The MakerSpace and Design and Architecture Club is geared to offer students a place to learn about 21st century creative technologies and to give them the tools to create revolutionary and conceptual things to push students forward in the field. During the meeting, club members huddled around the program’s several 3-D printers and large laser cutter, to spitball ideas on how to work with their momentum.

The Architecture and Design Club and MakerSpace Club go together like bacon and eggs. The Architecture and Design Club focuses on the design, and MakerSpace focuses on making.

The club’s mission statement is: The Pierce MakerSpace Club is a community of students dedicated to empowering themselves and that community by creatively and cooperatively addressing hands-on, real world problems and educational projects in an environmentally sustainable way.

Assistant Professor of Architecture and club co-advisor Beth Abels has high hopes for what the MakerSpace could become and looks forward to it growing each year.

“We’d like the students to have a place to work and solve problems in the community”, Abels said. “We’ve looked into moving the facilities to north of Mall, but that will have to wait for now while we grow.”

Elizabeth Cheung, professor of engineering and club co-advisor with Abels, sits in on meetings as well. She and Ables both make sure that the club stays on track to productivity, as the excitement of what’s to come can become overwhelming to the members and they could get carried away with brainstorming.

“This is what we have to work with,” Simonoff said. “Since this is really our first semester, we can make the club whatever we want.”

A primary concern of Simonoff during the inaugural meeting was to determine when the area would be available for students to work.

“People don’t want to work on projects they’re excited about just once a week, they’ll want to work on it every day possible until it’s done,” Simonoff said.

One way the club looks to make its mark is to enter Design Village, hosted by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In the competition, students are instructed to create a structure that they can bring to a predetermined location and inhabit for a weekend. The competition is held the second weekend of April. Ables referred to the competition as “Burning Man for architects and engineers.”

The MakerSpace Club meets in the Art and Technology building 3802, a small room wedged between larger labs. Although the room barely houses the 3-D printers and laser cutter, there is ample outdoor space, which is where the clubs were able to construct their booth for Club Rush.

When the matter of funding came up, opinions were thrown around as to when it should be taken care of and who should bear the responsibility.

“Funding is not the part of the club that everyone wants to jump into, but it has to be done. The sooner the better,” Macander said.

“We need to have people trained in the equipment,” Abels said about the program’s 3-D printers, software, and other mechanized equipment. “This is not a place where anything at all can be made. We have a lot of junk in this world, a lot of Yoda heads. We want to make things that are needed or add value to the community.”

Jerome Watts, 20, sat outside waiting for the meeting to start to be first in and first to participate given any task. Watts, an architect major, captured the spirit of the MakerSpace and Architecture and Design club, both of which he is a member of.

“I’ve always been interested in building since way back in the day. I used to spend all day thinking of things to build, then bringing them to life with Legos,” Watts said.

The MakerSpace Club meets every other Wednesday in AT3800. The Architect and Design club is currently working out and agreeable meeting time and location.