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?

lab

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 http://computer.howstuffworks.com/3-d-printing.htm
  • 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.

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