UMass Boston’s new Makerspace Lab is giving students, faculty, and staff the opportunity explore the expanding universe of 3D printing.
This technique—also called additive manufacturing—allows users to create a three-dimensional solid object from a digital file. 3D printing is important because it fosters innovation, can be used to develop prototypes, and shows commercial promise.
The Makerspace Lab, which opened on campus last fall, is located on the third floor of the Science Center. Apurva Mehta, the university’s associate chief information officer, worked with colleagues to move the project forward.
Mehta said the desire for a 3D printing space at UMass Boston grew as the group learned about the benefits the technology could bring to the UMass Boston community.
“We were doing research and we were noticing that a lot of institutions, especially higher education institutions just started rolling out a space like this,” said Mehta. “The School for the Environment usually sends stuff off campus to be printed, and that’s how the idea came about. We thought, ‘Why don’t we print them locally?’”
The Makerspace team also Helenmary Hotz, an instructor in the School for the Environment; John Mazzarella, who leads training, communications, marketing for IT; and instructional designers Michelle McIntyre and Linda Sudlesky. The Makerspace also has faculty advisors from the engineering and computer science departments and the School for the Environment. They also have student experts who assist with training and troubleshooting issues.
The Makerspace is free for students, faculty, and staff. Regular training sessions are available to help new users get acquainted with the available services and technology.
Members of the UMass Boston community can attend a training session or visit the lab on a walk-in basis. Teachers can also bring classes to the lab.
For those who are not artistically inclined, the Makerspace has a variety of software that can aid in the design process. Users can start from scratch or get help from software programs such as Autodesk Fusion 360, Adobe Creative Suite, and Tinkercad. There is also a 3D scanner available.
To learn more about the Makerspace, sign up for one of their training sessions or visit their lab on a walk-in basis.
About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.