The Maker Lab: What it is, what it has, what it does

For the last two years the Brown Library has housed Taylor County’s only maker space.

What is a maker space?


A maker space is a home for creation, fabrication, and collaboration of creative minds. It’s a space allocated to the principals of do-it-yourself where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.

ACU’s is called the Maker Lab.

What kind of things does the Maker Lab have, and what are they?

Currently the Maker Lab’s inventory boasts:

  • A large selection of hand tools
  • Power tools: Drills, reciprocating saws, belt sanders, drimmels…
  • 3 different types of 3D printers:
  • These basically functions like a hot glue gun nozzle attached to a printer. The nozzle slowly melts ABS plastic (think of the stuff that makes Legos) into thin layers. Over time the layers build up to produce a plastic 3d object.  Check this out
  • A 24×18 inch laser-cutter (with a larger one on the way)

This is one of my favorite pieces of equipment the lab contains. This works just like a printer that will engrave, etch, burn, or cut through materials such as paper, cardstock, leather, acrylic, wood, glass, plastic, granite, limestone, or bricks. (They even used it to carve a pumpkin this Halloween)

  • Multiple sewing machines
  • Table Saw
  • Drill Press
  • 4’x8’ CNC Router (the Big Gun)

This thing is pure awesome, and for how expensive it was it better be! It can cut through plywood like paper. With the right bit it can cut through ½ inch aluminum.

This thing great for art and construction projects, and is often being used by art and engineering classes.

Personally, I use it a lot to make corporate and private signs.

This summer the Maker Lab staff (including me) used it to produce the furniture for the graduate commons, such as chairs, desks, and conference tables.

What are some ways JMC can make use of the Maker Lab?

Well the laser-cutter is amazing for making customized items for costumers and friends. Items that work well are name plaques, coasters, rubber stamps, business cards, invitations, get well cards, trophies…

This machine is a great resource available to those on campus. It’s creative potential is really only limited to the user.

I have a basic video showing how to use the laser-cutter, be warned its pretty campy.


The NFL struggles to handle controversy

The National Football League has been under fire since the TMZ release of footage of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his fiance in an Atlantic City elevator in Early September. Much of what the league has been facing stems from the fact that they were sent the security tape, containing the elevator footage, by Associated Press in April. Whether or not Roger Goodell viewed this footage is up for debate, but regardless, there was not enough effort made on the behalf of the NFL to uncover the truth about the events that took place in February.

Honesty should be at the core of everything that we do as Christians, especially Christians in the public relations profession. The actions of the NFL are reactive due to the fact that they are now scrambling to cover their shortcomings. These shortcomings would not exist to such a large degree if those involved on the side of the NFL were open and honest with the media when they first learned of Rice’s actions.This change in thinking and actions would have resulted in the NFL being more proactive and avoiding media scrutiny due to their willingness to be transparent to the public.

The concept of honesty can and should be applied to all situations, no matter how large or small. Obviously if the Ray Rice situation had involved anything other than domestic abuse the NFL would not be receiving as much media attention, but being honest would have avoided much of the media scrutiny they are facing and fostered a healthy, transparent relationship with fans and players alike.

Ohio’s Son Returns Home

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Lebron James is a man in the spotlight, that much is a given. His decisions as to where he plays have been under scrutiny. No matter where he chooses to play, video and media have played a large role in how James tries to portray himself to the general public. In the past few months James has made public his decision to go home to the state of Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers selected James first in the 2003 NBA draft. Because of this decision, a parallel to the story of the prodigal son has been drawn. In his most recent media appearance James tars in a campaign for Beats by Dre titled Re-Established 2014.

In the advertisement Lebron James goes to the high school he attended growing up, the gymnasium now bearing his name. He goes through a workout as he revisits the place that shaped him into who he is today. All the while flashbacks of his childhood come on the screen. A voiceover of his mother telling him to never forget where he came from plays in the background.

While this is an advertisement for Beats by Dre, it is little more than product placement in the story of redemption and being welcomed home. Lebron James is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world today and he utilizes this advertisements as a platform from which to let the world know that regardless of his departure from Cleveland in 2010, he has not forgotten his roots.

This advertisement is affective because it allows a platform for a controversial professional athlete to begin to clear his name and show his connection to his home remains. It is clear throughout the spot that Beats by Dre is a part of James telling his story, which in turn generates them revenue because that are now not only associated with James but also with the goodwill he seeks to generate with basketball fans across the nation.