The Wesleyan Makers Lab will include four sections that offer services and activities to our faculty, staff, students, and members of the community. These four sections are the Fab Lab, the Design Spot, the Multimedia Production and Editing Studio, and the Expanded Media Lab.
The Fabrication Laboratory or "Fab Lab" will be focused on modelling, prototyping, and production. The equipment that will meet these needs are: two 3D printers, one 3D laser scanner, one laser cutter/engraver, and basic shop tools. The ability to print, scan, and/or cut in a three-dimensional format truly allows a user to be fully involved in the entire creation process, from concept to finished product. It provides the creator the freedom to experiment and not be constrained by a lack of funding, or industry connections. This in turn leads to innovation and discovery that would otherwise be ignored. Furthermore, the 3D laser scanner allows for a physical object to be accurately represented in the digital world. Once an object is scanned, an individual can inspect and assess it for flaws, reverse engineer it's design, and submit it to the replication process when used in conjunction with a 3D printer or laser cutter.
The Design Spot focuses on fabric and fiber arts design through the use of paper and vinyl die cutting, a direct-to-garment printer, and heat press. Here an individual has the freedom to design materials for marketing, outreach, and artistic expression. With only a digital image file, one can print decals for home décor, clothing, and accessories. The direct-to-garment printer allows for the printing of designs directly onto fabric without the harsh fumes and bulky equipment necessary in traditional screen printing. A designer can test print an image onto fabric easily and assess for quality control without the exorbitant cost of having to use an outside vendor.
The Mulitmedia Production and Editing Studio will be used for film and multimedia production through the use of the Padcaster Ultimate Studio, green and black screen backdrops, and software used in audio and video post-production. The Padcaster equipment can be used in the lab or at another on-site location to film and record a vast array of content. Faculty and staff can use the equipment to film workshops and tutorials of hard to grasp subject content that can be easily accessed when they are not available. Students can film research projects and proposals, document current events, and preserve memories that are not only important to themselves but also to the campus culture.
The Expanded Media Lab is a general use computer lab with desktops that will include the following software: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator Draw, Illustrator, Adobe Stock, Typekit, SketchUp Pro Education, Camtasia, and Autodesk Education. Autodesk Education provides students and educators with free access to over sixty programs, the most popular being Inventor Professional, AutoCAD, Maya, Revit, 3DS Max, and TinkerCAD. A full listing of the software available through Autodesk Education can be found here: http://autode.sk/2DKqyRD The Expanded Media Lab will utilize desktops already in the West Library whose hardware will meet the new software specifications and needs.
This software will allow users of the Wesleyan Makers Lab to not only create designs compatible with 3D technology, modelling, and simulation, but it will also enable them to learn skills with software that is used across multiple industries that would otherwise be out of reach due to personal budgetary constraints.