IU Makes


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Indiana University's makerspaces work with students and faculty to design objects and activities for their research and classroom activities. As the examples below show, working directly with staff at IU campus makerspaces can yield functional objects and models for a wide variety of applications.

Scroll through to see project highlights from several IU Bloomington makerspaces, and to learn more about each space, download the map or visit the UITS 3D printing lab, Wells Library Maker Cart, SoAAD's MAD Labs, the Make, Innovate, Learn Lab at the School of Education, the SICE Makerspaces, and the Intelligent Systems Engineering REDlab.
Prosthetic Fabrication at the MAD Labs Senior Lecturer of Design in the School of Art, Architecture + Design, Jon Racek, partnered with a local girl, Violet Hall, who was born missing a portion of one arm to design and fabricate an affordable, customized prosthesis at a fraction of the cost of a commercially available model, customized to Violet's specifications. See Violet Hall and Jon Racek talk about their design process. Jon Racek, Senior Lecturer, School of Art, Architecture + Design was PI and Ryan Mandell, the Digital Fabrication Labs Coordinator for the School of Art, Architecture + Design and Director of the MAD LABS (Makerspace for Art + Design) facilitated by providing equipment and design expertise.
Mastodon Mandible from the UITS 3D Printing Lab Polly Sturgeon of the Indiana Geological Survey team was no stranger to UITS' 3D print services when she jokingly mentioned to their team, “maybe we can print a massive mandible.” After explaining the expertise available from the UITS 3D Print staff and our interest in experimenting with workflows that could become service models, the team agreed to tackle the challenge of recreating the ancient Mastodon mandible. The UITS team tasked themselves with an entire, more traditional, workflow: concept and planning, design, print and print cleanup, and all things related to post-processing.
Designing New Education Landscapes at the MILL Makerspace The IU School of Education's Make Innovate and Learn Lab—the MILL—is a space for students to work with laser cutters, 3D printers, electronic circuits, and common materials like cardboard, rubber bands or Legos with the goal of designing new learning models for K-12 students. See the MILL and its student-teachers in action.
Toyhacking at the MILL Makerspace In an early literacy class, IU School of Education teacher education students used the makerspace to first do some toyhacking (changing the stereotypical messages in a popular toy) and then use the hacked toys as characters in student-made films. In the second phase of the project, the university students took these characters to field experiences where they helped children create films with these or similar toys.
Robotics at SICE Makerspaces Robotics is a burgeoning part of 21st century life and infrastructure. In Intelligent Systems Engineering at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering students explore how to program robots to interact with the environment through sensors and then to act upon that sensory information. The robots may leverage a variety of sensors such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, GPS signals, magnetic fields, buttons, distance, or even human brain activity. Using Brain Control Interfaces (BCI) students learn to control a robot on wheels using human brain activity as well as perform analysis of BCI interactions on parallel processing supercomputers.
Fabrication at SICE Makerspaces One of the mysteries of digital fabrication lies in the machines themselves. From 3D printers and CNC mills to laser cutters they take our designs and print objects in three dimensions, cut forms out of blocks of aluminum, or etch images onto plastic all through a process that can seem somehow magical. Students demystify and come to understand the magic that makes CNC machines work by constructing and programming them. The CNC drawing machines that students build and program are able to transfer digital images, or text onto a drawing surface. Through this project they learn the beginning aspects of how to design in a computer aided design (CAD) program, how to power and program stepper motors, and how to assemble the G-code to operate CNC machines to fabricate artifacts they have designed for production.
Sentient Architecture at SICE Makerspaces As the built environment becomes increasingly more complex and integrated with new technologies—including the emerging Internet of Things (IoT)—there is an urgent need to understand how embedded technologies affect the experience of individuals that inhabit these spaces. Students constructed “Dendrite” sculptures, which is a piece of living architecture that comprises one light sensor (the eye) and three lights and vibration motor together with hardware and software required to control the sensor and actuators.
Maker Mondays at Herman B Wells Library At the Herman B Wells Library, students, faculty, and staff across disciplines are invited to engage in hands-on learning through the Maker Mondays workshop series. Now in its fourth semester, workshop topics range from logo design and screenprinting to electronics and e-textiles. These activities encourage making over consuming and invite participants to take an active role as creators and collaborators. In a recent workshop, participants explored analog sound using littleBits synth kits.