Whether they are working on a passion project, an out-of-the-box assignment or a crafty holiday gift, the ASU Library Makerspace in Tempe's Hayden Library provides students and staff with the tools and technology to create.
"The only requirement is just being interested in learning," Makerspace program manager Alexia Lopez Klein said.
What sets the Makerspace apart from other on-campus resources is that it is not limited to a specific school or program. Students of all skill levels and majors, as well as staff and faculty, are welcome.
All of the equipment and certain materials, such as thread and fabric samples, are available for free. Additionally, a patron’s first 3D print is free up to 250 grams.
Similar to a library study room, the different areas of the Makerspace need to be reserved online. When patrons log on and select their reservation time frame, they have the option to request assistance during their session from one of the Makerspace employees or work on their own.
"It can be a little jarring because you have to go through that appointment process," said Mia Saxon, a Makerspace student worker and junior studying industrial design. "But I think what’s really great is that you can come in with an idea, and we can talk you through how to get there."
Jade Noble, a junior studying animation, is another one of the student workers on call to help students bring their creative visions to life. She teaches people how to use the sewing and 3D printing equipment, and is also trained on the laser cutter.
"If you have an idea, come in and talk to us," Noble said. "A lot of people come in with an idea but say, 'I don’t know how to execute it,' and we’ll say, ‘Oh! That’s easiest on a vinyl cutter or laser cutter.'"
Noble said her favorite project to teach people who are completely new to Makerspace and want to try something new is button making — creating custom pins using a metal press.
Lopez Klein recommends that students visit the Makerspace this holiday season to make gifts for their friends or family. She said in the past, students have used the Cricut paper cutter to make custom cards. The Makerspace will be open over winter break with reduced hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saxon enjoys seeing the ideas that students bring in to print. She sees 3D projects ranging from cute animal figures to topographic models.
"I like when there’s a STEM component to (projects)," Saxon said. "It’s sort of like visualizing more complicated ideas, and it’s interesting to see that intersection."
Jordan Bouts, a senior studying art and art education, frequents the Makerspace’s sewing room. So far, Bouts has made an overall dress and blazer out of the free mushroom fabric from the studio. Next up he’s working on a matching pair of high-waisted pants.
"It’s a separate space away from my home, and I don’t have distractions, so I can just come in here and get things done," Bouts said.
Another part of the Makerspace is the Virtual Reality studio. Student worker Vaughn Klein, a junior studying urban planning, gives tutorials to acclimate students to the VR equipment. He starts students off with a simple game to help them get their "VR legs."
"Once they’ve been able to be in VR enough without getting nauseous, we’ll show them how to make and test their own programs," Klein said.
The Makerspace offers an array of other technologies, including two podcasting studios, an audio-visual studio, high-end electronics testing equipment and even equipment checkout for items ranging from a 3D printer to a GoPro to laptop cables. The best way to find out what equipment is available to take home is to go to the Makerspace in person and check.
"As a woman working in a tech-based environment, I feel really lucky that I do have the opportunity to help create a space where people can so easily access a new set of skills, knowledge and even potential," Lopez Klein said. "I say there's nothing more inspiring than seeing someone discover a new skill and relate it to themselves in their own journey."
Edited by Claire van Doren, Jasmine Kabiri and Shane Brennan