The library is not just a place for studying for exams, it’s also a space to be creative in the Makerspace. PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Goralnick
If you name it, you can create it at the Makerspace located in the Robert L. Carothers Library at the University of Rhode Island.
The Makerspace is home to 3D printers, sewing machines, vinyl and laser cutters, a 3D scanner, a woodcarver and more. The Makerspace is run by the library, and works closely with the dean of the library, Karim Boughida, to approve projects and help disburse funds for new equipment.
The labs are open for all URI students, staff, faculty and even alumni to use.
“We encourage students to come into the Makerspace to learn something new, create something and familizare themselves with the technology we have,” Samantha Cochis, one of the coordinators for the Makerspace, said.
The Makerspace puts on different workshops at least once a month to make students aware of the technology and projects students can use there, according to Cochis. Cochis uses her background as a Public Relations major to help organize the events.
“I think just the opportunity to be able to create student programming myself and to help other people create really successful student programming is my favorite part [of being involved in Makerspace],” Cochis said.
Some of the workshops this year have included making candy molds for Halloween, screen printing tote bags, sewing masks and most recently 3D printing snowmen.
Students can also come in whenever they want to create something according to Cochis. There is a team of students who are knowledgeable about the equipment and can help step by step through the design process.
“We have a lot of kids come in and say ‘I have a class I need to 3D print something for,’” Cochis said. “It doesn’t have to just be an academic use, you can just make something cool.”
One of the other coordinators, Anthony Neves, said that one of his favorite projects that he worked on was 3D printing an entire game set for the game “Catan,” complete with color-coded mountains and fields.
“People feel as though this space does not apply to them because they’re not an engineering major or a [pharmacy] major or whatever, but in actuality, this space is open for everyone,” Neves said.
The Makerspace itself is decorated with a few things made by the machines in the lab.
“I’ve had some great help from the staff here,” Tatiana Almonacy, a student at the lab, said. “If there’s a lot of people in here I’ll be like ‘oh yeah, well I know how to do this because they taught me.’”
The team is made up of students from all different backgrounds, who help create the workshops, work closely with the University and teach students how to use the different equipment.
The Makerspace recently expanded to have an XR Lab, which Neves said he helped open over this school year. In the lab, students can design projects which they can experience through augmented and virtual reality through different software.
“It doesn’t have to stop with the physical world in the sense of things that we can create and are tangible,” Neves said.
The Makerspace is open every weekday, and students can find more information through their social media platforms.
“I would encourage anybody to walk in and we can find something that you’re excited to do,” Cochis said.