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Engineering Impact Report

Providing Space for Makers

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Like many engineering programs, the University of Dayton has been planning to create a large, well-equipped makerspace for use by students across campus. While those plans take shape, engineering leadership decided to act.

A growing maker's movement among engineering students prompted the creation of a functional makerspace in an area of the basement vacated by the University of Dayton Research Institute. 

A student-led Makers Club formed in 2015 with a core group of students passionate about building, creation and innovation. This original group of students struggled to find a place for their work, which was when the idea of a makerspace was born. 

Scott Segalewitz, associate dean for experiential learning and student success, 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.

Kettering Labs already had much of the equipment necessary for a fully-functioning makerspace, and now, it is organized into one place. The modest space has grown from one room to five and is a starting point for innovations within the School of Engineering. 

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. 

The space is divided into three main areas: a 3D printing room, a metalworking room for welding and metal cutting, and a woodworking shop. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the lab is reserved for EGR 103 classes, where first-year students build prototypes of their designs for community clients. The lab is popular among students, particularly in the late afternoon and evening. 

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 popular because students and faculty want the opportunity to make prototypes. 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, broadens experience and gets you talking to other people."

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.

Kevin Pierson, lab manager for the makerspace, joined UD in January 2018 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. 

CONTACT

School of Engineering

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0254
937-229-2736
Email