MIT's Makerspaces

Makerspaces at MIT (and many universities) are usualy one of three types.  They all have similar maker tools, but their community elements differ, and they are purposesd and managed in a different way:

  • Machine shops - Spaces that specialize in training/mentoring/making on creation of complex systems and/or fine-detailed components.  Interaction with staff (skilled machinist educators) is their key value, so they specialize in quality of maker education/work vs. quantity of students served.
  • Project makerspaces - Spaces that primarily support class projects. These spaces usually contain more resources to facilitate collaboration, i.e. meeting space and open working space.  The key value of these spaces is in their abililty to integrate specific resources that enable programmed, curriculum-based learning.
  • Community makerspaces - Prioritizes fostering unrestricted making via a community effort. The community serve as stewards of the space/resources and educate users in safe making practices. The key value of these spaces is the communities' ability to facilitate access to more users, particularly early/novice users.

Many spaces are hybrids, primarily of one type but have elements of another type.  In all of our campus makerspaces, the students do the work.  We don't consider 'work for hire' areas to be makerspaces because they don't facilitate personal making... they are job shops.  At right you'll find the breakdown of makerspace types on MIT's campus as of December 2015.



MIT is adding a new state-of-the-art, 20,000ft2 community makerspace - the MET makerspace - to help meet the general makings needs of our campus .  This graphic at right shows the expected breakdown of space after the MET makerspace comes online.




MIT's makersystem

In a makersystem, local makerspaces network together to offer specialized capabilites to a larger community (e.g. a campus).  MIT's makersystem includes makerspaces tailored for entrepreneurship, the arts, class projects, metal working, wood working, glass working, micro/nano making, unrestricted use, etc. Historically, networking of the spaces has occured informally.  We are in the process of facilitating this via the Mobius mobile app and increased interaction between the local makerspace communities.

MIT's Major Makerspaces

  • Architecture fabrication shop
  • Architecture wood shop
  • Area 51 CNC shop
  • Beaverworks
  • Center for bits and atoms
  • Chemistry machine shop
  • Civil engineering machine shop
  • CSAIL shop
  • Cypress engineering design sudio
  • D-lab
  • Edgerton student clubs
  • Edgerton center student shop
  • Gelb lab
  • Glass lab and foundry
  • Hobby shop
  • Lab for engineering materials
  • Lab for manufacturing and productivity
  • LEES shop
  • Martin Trust Center protoworks
  • ME maker works
  • Microsystems technology laboratory
  • Media lab
  • Music and theater arts set shop
  • Pappalardo 1 laboratory
  • Physics machine shops
  • Product design laboratory
  • SUTD-MIT international design center