Santa Clara University is jumping head on into the maker movement. With the support of Dr. Christopher Kitts, Anne Mahacek and students in the Maker Lab, they have created a trailer full of high tech tools. With everything from laser cutters and 3D printers to a pile of hand tools, they are ready to take this mobile classroom on the road. They have also developed a curriculum around design thinking and science for 7th through 9th graders that will engage kids with technology from an early age.
The trailer is available for visits to local schools and after school programs as a way to enhance their educational activities. SCU staff and students operate the trailer and teach a variety of hands-on curricular modules that excite students and expose them to a variety of STEM topics.
The second element of the outreach program involves working with students to fabricate parts. SCU students serve as mentors in order to consult on designs and manufacturability issues. Approved design files are then uploaded to the Lab for fabrication. Students may also watch parts being made on a 3D printer via a live Web stream.
Teachers interested in learning more about these opportunities should contact Lab staff at SCUMakerLab@gmail.com
In the above video, Dr. Christopher Kitts discusses his plans to staff the university's Mobile Maker Lab through offering course credit to engineering students for time spent working on the program.
The SCU Mobile Maker Lab has hobby-class 3D printers made by MakerBot. These machines provide an entry level degree of experience, and a hands-on feeling of what is going on in the industry. The 3D deposition printing technology is a great introduction to 3D printing.
Computer controlled laser cutters, plasma cutters, and water jets have all become standard practice in making quick and accurate cuts through various materials. In SCU Mobile Maker Lab there is an Epilog CO2 laser that is capable of engraving and cutting through thin plastics and woods, perfect for showing what is possible using these incredible machines.
Wood carving has never been easier since computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) table routers. The SCU Mobile Maker Lab's CarveWright table router allows for user friendly computer design of projects. It can perform precise cutting, drilling, machining, and shaping of wood.
The sign-making industry uses vinyl plotters. Although the machine in the Mobile Maker Lab was originally designed for the scrapbooking community, Dr. Kitts and Anne have taken advantage of the capabilities of the Silhouette Cameo plotter for creating custom paper craft and vinyl stickers.
Makers4Good is one of the major sponsors of the program, offering support via funding, and consultation on logistical and marketing matters. We are also helping SCU to identify and establish partnerships with area schools and institutions.