Makerspace Profile


The seven-story, 50,000 square feet facility is the culmination of a vision that began in 2008 with a small group of faculty to bust open the innovation door on campus. The vision of the Sears think[box] is to operate an open space that enables users of all disciplines, all ages, all organizations to come together as a community to ideate, create, make, tinker, and build. The seven floors put this vision in action: Floor 1 is a community gathering space; floor 2 is set up for ideation and collaboration; floor 3 enables digital prototyping and development; floor 4 offers non-digital fabrication and manufacturing; floor 5 is big project space for teams to work on their physical prototypes; floor 6 supports all entrepreneurial endeavors; and floor 7 offers space for incubation and start-ups….preparing new companies to burst through the top of the building and out into the Northeast Ohio manufacturing ecosystems.

The prototype of the physical and culture space that is Think[box] began in December 2012 in a smaller, 5,000 sq.ft. space where protocols, training, and processes were tested that would be appropriate for an open access mission. On October 2015, TBX moved into the first phase (Floors 1-4) of its permanent home, with renovations continuing and phase two completion of additional floors scheduled for Fall 2016.

This resource is about changing cultures and relationships throughout CWRU and the larger Cleveland community…and such changes are coming to fruition.  


The space is open to all. All CWRU campus disciplines; all neighboring higher education and other organizations; all area industry, nonprofits; and all neighborhood, area citizens. Hours vary according to the academic calendar, but weekend and evening hours are always included. 

Tools, Materials and Resources

In addition to white boards and the non-technical design materials located in multiple spaces throughout the building, the following equipment is also available (primarily on floors 3 and 4):

FDM 3D Printer - Fortus 250mc

This 3D Printer is capable of rapidly prototyping 3D models into strong ABS plastic parts. Parts printed on the Fortus 250mc are less expensive than parts printed on the Fortus 400mc.

FDM 3D Printer - Fortus 400mc

This 3D Printer is capable of rapidly prototyping 3D models into strong ABS plastic or Polycarbonate parts. Parts printed on the Fortus 400mc are more accurate, but more expensive, than parts printed on the Fortus 250mc.

3D Printer - MakerBot Replicator 2

This 3D Printer is capable of rapidly prototyping 3D models into PLA plastic parts. Parts printed on the Replicator 2 are less expensive than parts printed on the Fortus machines.

Laser Cutter - Epilog Legend 36EXT

Powerful, agile and versatile, our twin 120W CO2 laser cutters will cut and etch most woods and several plastics.

Laser Cutter - Universal ILS12.150D

Powerful, agile and versatile, our twin 150W CO2 laser cutters will cut and etch most woods and several plastics.


The recommended graphic design software for using machines in think[box].

Photo Table - Smith Victor TST-F3

Present projects profesionally with well-lit, high resolution photos. Our photo table allows anyone to take beautiful pictures within minutes.

Printed Circuit Board Router - LPKF S63

The circuit board router allows prototyping of single or double layer circuit boards in-house. The LPKF ProtoMat S63 drills holes and cuts insulation paths from a full sheet of single- or double-sided copper clad material, leaving behind the traces, pads, vias and pin holes for components to be attached.

Sewing & Embroidery Machine - Janome Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition

Strong and durable sewing and embroidery capabilities made possible by our state-of-the-art machine.

Vinyl Cutter - Roland GX-24 CAMM-1 SERVO

Capable of quickly creating in your face decals, professional quality signage, or impressive logos out of a variety of different colored vinyl.

Computerized Router - ShopBot PRSalpha 96x48

Large (96" x 48" x 8") working area 3-axis CNC router, capable of moderate-precision cutting of wood, plastic, foams and composites.

Tool Loans

Reserve a variety of equipment for use outside of think[box].

Miter Saw and Stand - Makita WST01

The Makita LS1216LX is a compound sliding miter saw that can be used to make simple or compound angle cuts in wood and plastic.

Large Format Printer - HP Designjet T790 ePrint

Print huge posters, pictures and more with our large format printer.

Laminator - GBC Ultima35 EZLOAD

Easy and fast lamination of a wide variety of sheet materials.

3D Stereo Inspection Microscope - Lynx

Sharp images with incredible depth make work with microscopic components an equivalent experience to an IMAX movie.

CameraScope - Leica

This traditional stereo microscope with HD camera and external monitor allows for inspection and soldering but also makes group instruction possible.

Soldering Iron - Metcal MX-PS5000

Solder anything with our powerful soldering iron and its collection of useful accessories.

All-In-One Electronics Instrument - NI VirtualBench VB8012

This handy device integrates a multimeter, power supply, oscilloscope, and function generator into a single, user friendly package.

Mixed Signal Oscilloscope - Tektronix MSO2014

Accurate and versatile, this oscilloscope is a huge advantage to anyone interested in developing quality electronics.

Mixed Domain Oscilloscope - Tektronix MDO4014-3

When working with radio frequency signals, this high-end mixed domain oscilloscope provides time-correlated measurements of analog, digital, and RF signals in a single instrument.

Bench Power Supply - HP E3631A

Reliable DC power at a moment's notice, guaranteed by our excellent power supply.

Digital Multimeter - HP 34401A

Precise measurements of a variety of electrical properties can be taken with ease.

Function/Arbitrary Waveform Generator - HP 33120A

Capable and convenient, this function generator is great for electrical work.

3D Scanner - ROMER 7x Scan Arm

This world-class 3D Scan Arm is our largest, highest resolution 3D Scanner.

Vacuum Chamber - Corning Pyrex 5.8 L

Use this vacuum chamber for degassing epoxies, mold materials, and resins

Drill Press - Jet Model J-2550

Part of our growing metal shop.

Combination Sander - Kalamazoo Industries Model S612V

Part of our growing metal shop.

Vertical Bandsaw - Wellsaw V-20

Part of our growing metal shop.

Horizontal Bandsaw - Clausing Kalamazoo KC812W

Part of our growing metal shop.

Panel Saw - Safety Speed 6400

Part of our growing wood shop.

Vertical Knee Milling Machine - Bridgeport Series 2

Part of our growing metal shop.

Access & Usage Costs

The space is free; there are fees to use materials (student rates and non-student rates)


The Case School of Engineering manages the space from a budgetary standpoint (CWRU has a RCM budget). There is an Executive Director, Operations Direction as well as 4 additional dedicated staff. The remaining staffing is managed by student TAs.


We have developed a large number of user friendly training manuals for each piece of equipment, supplemented as needed by the TAs. There are occasional programs on specific skills, but not formally offered with regular frequency. 

Use and Activity

There are workshops, events, informal courses—anything dealing with an innovation ecosystem tends to occur in the space.

Culture and Community

Sears think[box] is breaking down barriers not only between the disciplines, but also between the university and our external community. It has been the mechanism to tear down the walls and build a porosity with the neighborhoods that did not exist before. 

Challenges and Lessons Learned

The concept for TBX has been in development since 2008 and the biggest challenge was the timeline for full buy-in from all corners—administration, faculty, community, donors, etc. It took multiple touches and multiple engagements, two back and one step forward, on the way to our vision and current level of success. But we kept talking, meeting, sharing, and working together on the project, with the key to overcoming the challenge being inclusive and open and transparent in all aspects of building the vision. 

Advice to other Makerspaces

Find your champions, find your supporters, and work to grow the circle. Meet regularly, be transparent, and communicate more than needed.