The makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic provides students, faculty, and staff access to an impressive array of small tools and digital fabrication equipment. From hand tools to CNC routers, belt sanders, and vinyl cutters, the makerspace boasts a wide range of equipment to help turn any design into a reality. In addition to these tools, the prototyping lab houses FDM printers, carbon dioxide-based laser cutters, a PCB structuring machine, and a desktop water jet.
The highlight of the makerspace is undoubtedly the 27 3D printers. Students, faculty, and staff who complete basic training can access these printers to create various projects, from academic research to personal and entrepreneurial ventures. The makerspace operates on a term-based system and offers training and workshops throughout each term. And the makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic is open to everyone in the campus community. As long as it is legal, there are no restrictions on what can be made in the makerspace. It supports academic projects, senior design projects, research initiatives, and personal and entrepreneurial undertakings.
Since its opening in the fall of 2018, the makerspace has become a hub of creativity and innovation. Users have access to the latest equipment and training, enabling them to bring their ideas to life in a supportive and collaborative environment. So whether you are a seasoned maker or a curious novice, the makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic is the perfect place to unleash your creativity and turn your ideas into reality.
The Innovation Studio at Worcester Polytechnic provides resources to foster innovation and develop entrepreneurs. The studio's first floor is the McDonough Makerspace, which provides students with tools, training, and resources. The second floor houses the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, which offers funding opportunities and a network of Experts in Residence, including accomplished alumni who volunteer their time to mentor students.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center also has a phase-structured approach to building foundational skills, with advanced-level programs to create startups and solve real-world problems. The Center has helped students tackle real-world problems such as transportation in Tanzania, water quality monitoring systems, and developing a delivery service for home goods. Several student startups have emerged from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department in recent years.
Advanced Technology and Prototyping Specialist | The Makerspace Prototyping at Worcester Polytechnic
1500 to 1800 Users each year
The makerspace at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has a significant number of users. Approximately 1500 to 1800 unique users make use of it each year. While the main users are mechanical engineering and robotics engineering students, there is healthy participation from other departments, including game development, humanities, art, architectural engineering, civil engineering, chemical physics, and more. The makerspace provides workshops tailored to specific groups to encourage involvement from other majors: a recent Make a Ghost Halloween workshop taught computer science majors programming using Python and a CutiePi circuit board.
The makerspace has been well-received since its inception, emphasizing project-based learning in undergraduate classes. The team works closely with different faculty and departments to facilitate the transition between the classroom and making, including giving special lectures and assistance with getting started with 3D printing, rapid prototyping, design, digital manufacturing, and more. The makerspace has also been collaborating with different student clubs to offer resources and workshops tailored to their needs. Overall, the makerspace has built strong relationships across departments and continues to be an important resource for the campus community.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute uses 3DPrinterOS to run its 3D printers for several reasons. One of the main reasons is to ensure equitable access to the printers while maintaining oversight and control over who is printing what. WPI wants to be educational - not just a print service. They encourage students to learn about the process of 3D printing and feel comfortable doing it, so they offer optional in-person training on using 3D printers. Students who complete the training can reserve printers and take full accountability for the success of their parts, including changing materials and colors.
WPI has all the printers in a subnet system to protect their internal security and IP addresses. The subnet can only be accessed by one dedicated computer that is logged in through the account of the person in charge. Students cannot access the IP addresses of the computers or printers from outside the software.
WPI also has eight printers that are dedicated to advanced users. These printers can be reserved up to a week in advance, allowing students to print their parts without waiting for their turn in the queue. This is especially helpful during busy times when a student needs to print something urgently.
Overall, WPI's use of 3DPrinterOS provides equitable access to their 3D printers while maintaining oversight and control over the printing process. They also offer educational opportunities for students to learn about 3D printing and to take full accountability for the success of their parts.
Learn more about 3DPrinterOS - the most trusted 3D printing management software for Higher Education, Enterprises and OEMs. Fill out this form to get in touch with our experts.