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Dayton Engineer

Kettering Labs Makerspace is Creating Hands-on Opportunities for Students of All Majors

By Natalie O'Brien '19 and Adrienne Zandvoort '19

A new makerspace, located in room 022 in Kettering Labs ground floor, is designed for aspiring engineers and creative students to bring their passions to life.

This is a place for students to work on class or personal projects and a space to build something new. The makerspace offers an abundance of creative tools including 3D printing, woodworking, CNC routing, metalworking and electrical circuit building.  

This modest space, formerly occupied by the University of Dayton Research Institute, is a starting point for innovations within the School of Engineering. The makerspace is divided into three areas: a 3D printing room, a metalworking room for welding and metal cutting and a woodworking shop. 

All University of Dayton students, faculty and staff, including students outside the School of Engineering, have access to the makerspace. They are eligible to do so by attending informational seminars hosted by the School of Engineering and learning safety procedures on the equipment.

Makerspaces across the country have become a popular trend because students and faculty want the opportunity to make prototypes. Kettering Labs previously housed a majority of the equipment necessary for a fully-functioning makerspace, and now, it is organized into one place.

According to Emily Fehrman Cory, faculty of practice in innovation and entrepreneurship, the makerspace will provide a place for people to not only work on personal or academic projects but also to develop ideas for new products and businesses.

Cory should know. She was the creator and founding director of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Maker Hub. Additionally, Cory co-founded Make It Dayton, a grassroots organization that hosts the Dayton Maker Faire, and other maker-related events. Since coming to UD at the start of this academic year, Cory has become the faculty adviser for the School of Engineering’s makerspace

“There are some things you can’t learn from books or lectures,” said Cory.  “We have to be more than narrowly focused. A makerspace gets you out of your comfort zone, creates a broad experience and gets you talking to other people.”  

Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Scott Segalewitz, has been an instrumental leader in the creation of the makerspace. A woodworker himself, he has facilitated everything from gathering and purchasing equipment to installation of the space to hiring and working with the lab manager on safety procedures.  

The School of Engineering hopes to add new machines within the next year such as embroidery machines and more 3D printers. They also hope to add a store, where students can purchase materials directly for larger projects.

The Makers Club has played an influential role in the development of the makerspace. The club began in the fall of 2015 and involves a group of passionate engineering students who want to build, create and innovate. The original group of students struggled to find a place for this to take place, which was when the idea of a makerspace was born.

Kevin Pierson, lab manager for the makerspace, joined UD in January and has been key to the quick development of the space. His main priority remains student safety as students embark on their creative journeys using professional-grade tools. He also is responsible for cleaning, stocking inventory, writing policies, documentation, tracking safety concerns and machine repairs.

Leaders of the makerspace see it as a place full of potential. They hope to eventually lead summer programs dedicated to learning how to build a 3D printing system and the Department of Art and Design would like to collaborate on silk screening and printing projects.  

For more information on the makerspace or Makers Club, contact Kevin Pierson at KPierson1@UDayton.edu.

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