Support from Queen’s?

Kingston is a city with a large student community, one that could both contribute and benefit greatly from a communal creative space. Imagine students in arts, commerce, and engineering as well as individuals from the community collaborating on projects in unison.

Working the mind without the hands, and without a practice community of adults and young people, produces abstract learners who have difficulty applying what they know to the world around them. Making with hands and minds stimulates young people to develop their imaginative, creative, entrepreneurial, and scientific chops. [Source]

Queen’s has the resources and infrastructure to easily enable such an initiative, just as other institutions have such as MIT and many others. MITERS is a great example of students from a variety of disciplines gathering to work together, and simultaneously developing skills outside of their degree focus.

Originally founded as a club to give MIT students free and open access to computers, MITERS now features a mill, lathe, band saws, welders, and other hands-on tools, in addition to a host of oscilliscopes, high-end soldering irons, and other EE prototyping tools. It’s a member-run creative haven and build-anything-you-want, if-you-break-it,-fix-it space. Build parties are on Friday nights at 7 PM in N52-115 near the MIT museum, feel free to pop in and say hi! [Source]

In the ILC Queen’s currently has a prototyping lab with excellent resources, including: 3D printer, CNC mill, PCB mill, table saw, lathe, welder, miter saw, and much more. These resources are not being used to their full potential, students are not encouraged to experiment and collaborate, machines such as the 3D printer are not easy and open to access. Hopefully with cooperation of engsoc and other governing bodies at Queen’s this could change and we could be the creative haven that MITERS is.

Here is a TED talk that explains the Fab Lab at MIT that opened its doors to allow students to make whatever they wish. Skip to about 6:55 if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing.

The Fab Charter

Mission: fab labs are a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access for individuals to tools for digital fabrication.

Access: you can use the fab lab to make almost anything (that doesn’t hurt anyone); you must learn to do it yourself, and you must share use of the lab with other uses and users

Education: training in the fab lab is based on doing projects and learning from peers; you’re expected to contribute to documentation and instruction

Responsibility: you’re responsible for:

safety: knowing how to work without hurting people or machines
cleaning up: leaving the lab cleaner than you found it
operations: assisting with maintaining, repairing, and reporting on tools, supplies, and incidents

Secrecy: designs and processes developed in fab labs must remain available for individual use although intellectual property can be protected however you choose

Business: commercial activities can be incubated in fab labs but they must not conflict with open access, they should grow beyond rather than within the lab, and they are expected to benefit the inventors, labs, and networks that contribute to their success. [Source]

Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or just want to chat. It would be greatly beneficial to this cause if many like minded people voiced their ideas and opinions to share with Queen’s.

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