On Friday, May 5, the Innovation Center Makerspace Student Advisory group held a planning retreat in the Innovation Center Makerspace.  Rebekah, Nathaniel, CJ and Nicole are four of the college’s most engaged students, and they have been actively involved in the growth and development of our makerspace.

Innovation Center Makerspace Student Advisory Retreat

After some general discussion about planning mechanics – we agreed to continue using Slack (for team communication), Google Drive (for document sharing), and Asana (for project and task management) as our planning and communication toolset – we moved through some brainstorming and discussion in the areas of Operations, Marketing and Outreach, and Makerspace Programs, all in preparation for our fall opening, and all against the backdrop of the statewide CCC Maker Grant.

On the Operations thread, we talked about onboarding of new students, facility and machine access issues, safety and training, facility usage tracking, and protocols around equipment upkeep, maintenance, and supplies.

Moving on to Marketing and Outreach, we discussed the development of an Innovation Center Makerspace brand, including logo, typography, colors and a style guide, and an outreach plan, including the potential for a “makerspace student ambassador” program, classroom presentations, involvement of student clubs and organizations, and activities leading up to our grand opening event in the fall.

Finally, we did some brainstorming around the theme of Makerspace Programming, and generated ideas including hosting coding and other bootcamps, eSports tournaments, mini Maker Faire participation, 1st Friday “What I Make” sessions, the proposed Makers in Residence program, and integration with Science Center and other collegewide activities (like the recent cyanotype activity, March for Science sign making, Social Justice Spring event, and International Workers’ Day march and ceremony).

Feeding our planning efforts are the data from a survey adapted by Nathaniel and Rebekah from one Sierra College has used in their own makerspace planning efforts.  We’re still analyzing the survey results, but my favorite response so far, in answer to a question about what students find appealing about makerspaces:

“Real life application.  We study so much theory and it would be nice to engineer something.”

The student voice is critical in the development of makerspace programs, services, and culture, and we’re lucky to have such a dedicated and engaged group of students to help guide our growth.

The pieces we ordered to build the volumetric display for Chemistry visualization finally arrived!  With the help of CJ, Nathan, and Rebekah (students), Max (Chemistry) got everything cabled up…

Assembly

Using bits from our original prototype, Max fired up a molecule, and it works!

Prototype, a Long Time in the Making

In order to better enjoy the three dimensional holographic molecules, we quickly cooked up a little blanket fort…

Building the Fort

Be Present

It Works!

Now that we have the parts in place, we can move on to developing the enclosure and making the system portable. It’s great to have the space, tools, and people to be able to turn good ideas into working prototypes, and we’re looking forward to making quick progress on this one (finally).

The Royal Chicano Air Force, a collective of local artists, educators, and activists helped the college celebrate International Workers’ Day with a “Making Art, Making Change” event in the Innovation Center Makerspace, followed by a march across campus and a ceremony and film screening.

Stan and his crew arrived in the morning, and set to work preparing the space for communal art making, based on this conceptual sketch…

Concept Sketch

Students from two of Josh Fernandez’s (English) classes did some painting…

Black Lives Matter

and some Ojos de Dios making…

Los Ojos

The crew posed for a picture…

Art Crew

after which a drummer (and a conch player!) arrived to lead us in a procession across campus, bathed in copal smoke…

Drummer Leading

The banner turned out beautifully!

Marching!


More photos from the event…

Taylor and Zainub and Jeremy and CJ (students) and Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I collaborated on a display to accompany the culminating event of the college’s Social Justice Spring events.

Here Taylor and Zainub are creating a physical (and metaphorical) wall from felt and fabric…

Wall Making

We remixed Shepard Fairey’s “We the People” series, then used the vinyl cutter to create large stickers. Diane and I preparing a sticker for transfer…

Sticker Making

…and Diane and Jeremy laying out the words for the display.

Untitled

Here’s the wall, about to be torn down…

The Big Reveal

…and here’s the final result, beautifully back-lit:

All Three Panels

A great and powerful wrap-up for an important month-long series of activities. I’m proud of our college!

Earlier this week, Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I held a preview event for Making Social Change, our Sociology + Making course, as part of FLC’s Social Justice Spring events. We decided to create some drop spindles and spin some yarn, based on an activity Erica Tyler (Anthropology) developed as part of last summer’s Making Across the Curriculum faculty professional development program.

We cut the whorls using the laser cutter (which has been christened “Danger Scissors”)…

Untitled

Note the engraved design, inspired by Gandhi’s spinning wheel.  Diane cut the dowels using a good old-fashioned chop saw…

Sawhat

…after which she and Erica taught us how to turn wool into yarn.

Drop Spindling

We also walked students through some other digital fabrication techniques, using the same spinning wheel motif source file to create objects using the Carvey, vinyl cutter, and 3D printer.  Looking forward to helping bring this course to life in the fall!

Friday last, Max Mahoney (Chemistry) and Amy Brinkley (Library) hosted a sign making event in the Innovation Center, in preparation for last weekend’s March for Science in Sacramento, and Max shared these photos:

March for Science Sign Makering!

March for Science Sign Makering!

It’s great to see the space filled with students and faculty, making things.

CCSF Makers!

Spent part of the day with these fantastic maker educators from City College of San Francisco.  They’re participating in the CCC Maker grant, and visited the Innovation Center to see the space and talk about our makerspace development process.  Happy to have made more contacts in the community college maker community, and looking forward to the continuing development of the CCC Maker community of practice.

The laser was installed yesterday, and while makerspaces are more about culture, community, and possibilities than they are about machines, this thing sure is a sweet machine. 🙂

Laser Learning

Following the install and orientation, we spent the better part of the day cutting, engraving and scoring wood, paper, and acrylic.  Once we got the hang of it, CJ (student) and I decided to push the machine with a test cut through 3/4″ pine.

Ryan and Rick (foreground above) assure me that this much flaring is normal, especially with material this thick (and without air assist, which we’ll probably be adding as funding permits).

Nathan and Thomas (students) have been printing using the new Ultimaker 3 with the PVA water-soluble support material, and we decided to run a quick little experiment to confirm what we thought we already knew:  that warm water would dissolve the PVA quicker than cold water.

Ultimaker 3 PVA Filament Test

After 25 hours, 50 minutes, we pulled both sets out of the water to compare.  Turns out that our assumptions were correct, at least for this barely scientific test.   Even without any real proper measuring of the leftover gummy PVA on the prints, there was clearly less undissolved support material on the ones initially placed in hot water than on the ones places in room temperature water.  I think we’ll borrow a hot plate stirrer from the Chemistry department and maybe try to run a few more controlled and better timed experiments.

Ultimaker PVA Side by Side

I’ve been working a lot lately with members of Folsom Lake College’s Peer Mentors, a group helmed by the the great Juan Flores (fellow faculty member and father of my lab helper from the other day).  The Peer Mentors are working on developing tiles for the mosaic tile project, with the goal that they will in turn help their assigned mentees to develop tiles.  It’s our hope that involving new college students in a technical and very accessible project will give them a connection to the makerspace early in their college career, and that having a physical artifact on the wall will help them feel connected to the college. Jess (student, Peer Mentor, and astrobiology enthusiast) was the first student from the group to have her design ready.

Jess Changing Bits

The new rough/fine pass feature of Easel is a good one, and should help to preserve the tremendously delicate 1/32″ bits.  We actually ended up doing three passes with successively smaller bits,  and Jess quickly mastered the process, producing this really nice design.

KC Boylan (Communication and Media Studies) stopped by later in the day to cut her tile…

KC Changing Bits

and Kathleen Kirklin (Interim President) did hers a couple of weeks ago…

Kathleen Securing her Tile

The project is turning out to be a great way to foster community as we continue to develop the space, and it’s a maker skills confidence builder besides.  With nearly a dozen tiles finished, I need to work with Ian Wallace (Theater Arts) to get some time on the big ShopBot to route out the waffle frame so we can get these up on the wall!