Students

You are the reason we have undertaken Project Manus.

We are working to understand the tools you need/want and ways to get you faster/better access.

 


Tools

What's going on - We are designing the new MET Warehouse makerspace to contain tools that span the spectrum from early modeling (e.g. foam/cardboard) to digital fabrication (3D printing/laser cutting/waterjets) to CNC machining and electronics fabrication.  We are also putting in place areas for topical interests, including bicycle repair, jewelry making and textile making. 

How can you help - We ran a campus-wide maker survey and that gave us some great data on what you make, where you make and when you make.  We are using that, and feedack from a committee of students, faculty and makerspace staff to determine how to design, layout and program the new MET makerspace.  You can help by agreeing to serve on the committe, or by providing your ideas/feedback to us via email to Prof. Culpepper (culpepper@mit.edu).

What's coming up - By December 28th, we'll be ready to publish (you'll find it here) the general layout of the space and a list of tentative equipment.  Watch this space!

Access

MIT has a lot of makerspace, but sometimes gaining access to certain spaces can be challenging.  Usually, the challenge is due to some 'boundary.'  So far, we've catalogued a few boundaries that MIT students often run into.  We've been working to understand the boundaries you run into, why they exist (or shouldn't exist) and ways to help you navigate these boundaries so that you have faster and broader access to maker resources.  If you think we're missing a type of boundary, let us know (culpepper@mit.edu).

I want to make X to I made X

Here is how Project Manus is working to eliminate each of these boundaries.

Awareness boundaries

With over 45 major makerspaces and 130,000ft2 (that's more than 2 football fields!) it can be hard to find what you need.  We have been cataloging major maker equipment and will be making that database searchable to you via the Mobius mobile app.

Permission boundaries

Some makerspaces are limited to students in a specific class, course or research group.  Some makerspaces are open to everyone.  You'll be able to use the Mobius app to determine which spaces you can access, and who you can contact to gain permission to access a particular makerspace.

Training boundaries

To gain access to a makerspace, you'll need to be trained in general safety and then trained on the tools you want to use. The Mobius app will help identify the training you'll need for a makerspaces that are accessible to you, and help you make contact to start that training.  Beginning in Fall 2016, freshman will be able to get maker training through the MakerLodge and access to one of ten maker communities on campus.

Social boundaries

At MIT, making isn't just for classes or research.  Maybe you just want to make something with your friends, make a present for someone, team up with people to make a prototype for a start up, or hang out with others that like to make things.  Makerspaces should support these activities and have maker communities that surround them.  We're working to foster maker communities via events, designing new spaces to have hangout/networking space and helping existing spaces understand how they can adapt to do the same where practical.

Timing boundaries

Many MIT makerspaces are open between 8am - 4pm, but students tend to need them most between 6pm - 11pm and on weekends.  You will be able to find a makerspaces open hours via the Mobius.  We are also designing and staffing new makerspaces so that it is easier to have them open after 4pm and on weekends.

Money boundaries

One feature of the Mobius app will be the ability to pay for shop materials, parts and machine time.  We will also be partnering with local vendors to establish quick, reliable and affordable rapid prototyping services during busy times on campus.  Beginning in Fall 2016, MakerBucks and MakerGrants will be available for students once they have completed MakerLodge training.

How can you help?

The more we hear from you, the better things can be.  You can always feel free to contact Prof. Culpepper (via Saana at saana@mit.edu), but we hope you'll consider participating in the campus-wide discussion on spaces.  Here are some ways to help.

Maker events - We are planning multiple 'town hall' style meetings and 'makeathons' on campus during which we'll have great food, fun making activities and time to discuss and obtain your thoughts, ideas and your feedback on our plans. 

MET warehouse committee - This committee is determining the layout, equipment, policies, etc... for the new MET makerspace.  We need more students to provide a representative balance of perspective from the MIT community.