Hands-on creation isn’t new to Carleton. Studio art classes include metalsmithing and printmaking, theater students construct scenery and design costumes, and physics projects utilize electronics and the college’s instrument shop. Yet something has been missing — something cohesive, binding all disciplines together.
More and more, Carleton students and faculty members want to demonstrate learning with multimedia, cross-disciplinary approaches such as video, sculpture, or 3D displays. With this in mind, the college identified a need for a space that would foster creativity that overcomes preconceptions of interests and abilities. Rather than silos of tactical learning, Carleton students will now have a central makerspace for designing and prototyping project ideas for classes — or for fun.
Funded by the Class of 1969, Carleton’s makerspace features high-tech tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC milling machines, as well as ordinary, useful supplies such as Legos, foam, fabric, and glue guns. The space, in Evelyn M. Anderson Hall, the college’s newly-opened integrated science facility, also houses computers, microprocessors, electronic components, and soldering irons.
“The makerspace will provide a new hub for making that isn’t tied to any one department,” says physics professor Melissa Eblen-Zayas. “This will be a place where students with a variety of interests and levels of experience can gather to design, prototype, and build projects for curricular purposes, for cocurricular activities, and for fun. The makerspace, however, is more than just a physical space — it’s about creating a community of users who share expertise and support each other in gaining new skills and transforming creative ideas into hands-on projects. We hope the new makerspace will contribute to a broad culture of making on campus.”