The Makerspace originated with a concept called CoLab which fostered projects between STEM and arts students. This expanded into Launch Lab which has a Makerspace dedicated to ideation. It is a hub where students can initiate ideas and then reach out to other campus resources (i.e. Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing, YSU foundry, machine shop, sculpture lab, wood working shop, etc) or community resources to bring those ideas into reality. Launch Lab is funded by all three participating colleges and the university. Equipment was funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Ohio Board of Regents, and the university.
Launch Lab can be used by students and faculty as part of courses that incorporate Launch Lab, interdisciplinary projects, and individual or collaborative research projects. The facility also has open use hours for students or faculty for personal use.
4 Invent3D material extrusion 3D printers, a 3D Systems ProJet 3510 SD material jetting 3D printer, a 3D Systems ProJet 1200 vat photopolymerization (SLA) 3D printer, 1 MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation material extrusion 3D printer, an LMI HDI Advance R1x structured light 3D scanner, a vinyl cutter, and an Epilog Zing laser cutter.
Use of Launch Lab for coursework, interdisciplinary projects, and individual or collaborative research projects is subsidized. Personal use is self-paid.
The Makerspace is managed by a committee from the three participating colleges. Several faculty and staff work regularly within the makerspace. There are also student lab assistants who work directly in Launch Lab.
There are interdisciplinary courses that are being created as part of Launch Lab. The first course is ART 1530/STEM 1530: Design in Practice. As for skill development, there is training associated with the equipment and software available for use within the Makerspace.
The space is used for course labs, projects, and open access. A recent event was the community-wide Make Youngstown event.
The culture is still evolving. The best part is getting people out of academic stovepipes and getting them to collaborate.
Key challenges included identifying stakeholders in a wide range of departments and colleges, finding the right location on campus for a Makerspace, management structure, personnel resources, fee-for-use models, tracking costs, securing funding commitments, and the process of selecting equipment and maintaining that equipment.
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