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 and better access.


Tools

Use Mobius to search for the tools you need and find out about training and makerspaces.  If there are tools or spaces you cannot find in Mobius, email project-manus@mit.edu with the details of what you are looking for and we will help you out.  We know that you experience a number of barriers when trying to access makerspaces and we are working to lower those barriers.

Access

MIT has a lot of makerspaces, but sometimes gaining access to certain spaces can be challenging. Usually, the challenge is due to some ‘boundary.’ So far, we’ve identified several 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 at project-manus@mit.edu.


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 cataloged major maker equipment and created the Mobius app so that you can quickly and easily find maker equipment and makerspaces on campus.  You can even use Mobius to pay for materials and machine time using TechCASH, MakerBucks and credit cards.

Permission boundaries

Some makerspaces are limited to students in a specific class, course or research group. Some makerspaces are open to everyone. You can 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 makerspaces that are accessible to you, and help you make contact to start that training. Freshman are eligible to receive maker training through the MakerLodge and then join 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 makerspace’s 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 is 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.  The 3D Printing Service at Copytech is one way for students to get 3D parts printed quickly.  MakerBucks and MakerGrants are available for students once they have completed the 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.