The DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library at the University of Nevada, Reno is leading the way in creating a makerspace with 3D scanning and printing resources. A makerspace is an area that appeals to the spirit of invention by providing tools and resources for people to discover, create, design, model, engineer and learn. DeLaMare's makerspace was recently named one of the most interesting makerspaces in America by Make Magazine.
"To be recognized alongside other pioneering and forward-thinking makerspaces at some of the nation's most innovative institutions and communities is truly commendable," Mridul Gautam, the University's vice president for research and innovation, said. "The DeLaMare has become a model for others to follow."
This summer, the staff at DeLaMare rearranged the ground floor of their library in the Mackay School of Mines building to make the space even more functional as a makerspace. It offers zones of self-directed learning and provides students and faculty with a variety of software and 3D technology they can use to inspire creativity and engineering.
"We are a public, land-grant University so we are really trying to bridge that gap between the community and the University," Chrissy Klenke, earth sciences and maps librarian at the DeLaMare Library, said. "The makerspace provides technology and resources here that you cannot find anywhere else in Reno."
This technology includes two large 3D printers and scanners, brand new handheld scanners and a new laser cutter. The second 3D printer was recently relocated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and can create models out of plaster in finer detail than the original scanner purchased in 2012 and in full color. These scanners are great for prototyping for class projects or even for taking prototypes to a business. People on campus can also use and experiment with Google Glass and Lego kits. Also available for check out are Arduinos, tools which develop interactive objects and are open-source physical computing platforms, and Raspberry Pi, a small computer that allows people to learn how to program in languages such as Scratch and Python.
There are two student 3D "wranglers" who anyone can make an appointment with through the DeLaMare's online libguide to show them how use the 3D printers or to trouble shoot problems. The library staff is also available and eager to help with the resources available. According to Klenke, this technology is not only a great resource for science and engineering students but is also a great resource for art students or design students.
"All of these are tools students and the campus community can use without premeditating what they can and cannot do," Erich Purpur, a librarian at the DeLaMare Library, said.
Purpur used the scanning technology to create a 3D scan of Babe, an iguana who belonged to Mary Ann Prall, a resident of San Diego. Purpur and student Crystal were able to scan the iguana with a handheld 3D do-it-yourself scanning tower he created by mounting an Xbox Kinect Sensor on a scanning tower. Purpur and a student scanned the iguana in sections and put them together with the CAD programs available in the DeLaMare makerspace.
"We want students to feel comfortable and feel they have some sort of ownership of the space because this just as much their library as it is ours," Klenke said.
According to Tara Radniecki, an engineering librarian at the DeLaMare Library, makerspaces are not new to the University. Each department and college has their own area where students are inspired to be innovative and creative. Other makerspaces on campus include the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center's Dynamic Media Lab in the @One, the Digital Media Studio in the Department of Art, the journalism lab in the Reynolds School of Journalism and the engineering lab in the College of Engineering.
"Academia and libraries are not the same as they were 50 years ago and they are not going to be the same," Radniecki, said. "This makerspace is a way we can use and share our expertise on campus."