by Nick Kneer, strategic communications coordinator
For anyone with an idea for a product or design, a new space in King Library offers the chance to make it a reality.
The University Libraries debuted its Makerspace on the third floor of King Library this semester. Equipped with 3D printers, CNC routing machines, paper and vinyl cutters, a dye-sublimation printer, heat press, and sewing and embroidery machines, the Makerspace (King 303) is a collaborative and hands-on learning space open to Miamians of all majors and disciplines.
The Makerspace is the latest example of the Libraries’ commitment to providing the cutting-edge tools and guidance that make a Miami University education exceptional in preparing students for an ever-changing workforce.
"One of the great benefits of makerspaces — especially in the neutral space of the campus library — is the opportunity for transdisciplinary collaboration,” said Sarah Nagle, creation and innovation services librarian. “Students of all majors and backgrounds can learn through making in ways they might not experience in their courses.”
In the course of bringing a concept to reality in the Makerspace, students gain direct experience in all stages of the ideation, creation, and revision process, developing skills in areas like 3D modeling, CNC design, and introductory computer programming.
With open hours every weekday, Miamians can drop in at any point in the semester to begin exploring the equipment and possibilities of the Makerspace. Trained staff will demonstrate safe use of the equipment and be on-hand for guidance and troubleshooting. In addition, the Libraries are holding several workshops aimed at introducing students to the equipment and possibilities of the Makerspace.
But beyond independent projects, Nagle sees advantages for instructors.
“By incorporating maker-type assignments or projects into their curriculum, faculty not only increase student engagement, but also open the door for students to develop new skills — and not just with technology. Students also learn transferable skills like critical thinking, teamwork, design thinking and problem solving, all of which benefit students regardless of their chosen major or career.” Nagle explained.
The potential applications are as numerous as they are diverse. Nagle envisions a medieval scientific thought course using primary sources and Makerspace equipment to construct working models of siege instruments like trebuchets and catapults, or an entrepreneurship course rapidly prototyping a new product. She also sees personal projects: customized Greek letter tote bags made with the CNC vinyl cutter and heat press, for instance.
Whatever the project, the process itself can be just as valuable as the end product. The methods used in creation and revision — creativity, problem-solving, and trial and error — have applications in all fields.
“Most importantly, students gain a ‘maker mindset’ that extends beyond the physical things they are making and develops into a worldview that embraces curiosity, empathy, and learning through failure,” said Nagle.
Those interested in getting started with the Makerspace are welcome to stop in during open hours:
|9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
To schedule a consultation about a maker project or with questions about the space, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nagle is happy to assist faculty in developing maker projects for their courses, and can be reached at email@example.com or 513-529-7205.