Project Duration: 4 months
Role: 3D/UXUI designer
CDM does not have a proper space for physical prototyping. However, in the recent few years, there has been an increase in the number of industry projects which require the digital design to interface with physical objects. In response, the CDM hopes to expand its ability and capacity by designing and building a maker lab. According to the design brief, the CDM Maker Lab should focus on providing a clean workspace that is dedicated to prototyping electronics and other delicate artifacts.
The purpose of a maker lab is to create a comfortable and informal environment for users to:
- learn through hands-on experience.
- make prototypes to realize their ideas.
- test their prototypes and collect feedback for future improvement
I made a couple of interviews as primary research among students and faculty to find out if the CDM really needs a maker lab. Here is one of those representatives:
Ghazal Jenab, a CDM student from cohort 13, mentioned that her team had to sew a physical prototype for their project “Ameegos.” by hand due to the lack of sewing machine at the CDM. In order to get the right fabrics and threads, her team had to send someone to Dressew Supply to buy materials many times because, very often, they would forget something or would realize that they need something else. Her team also needed to create a structure for the physical prototype using a 3D printer. However, the only 3D printer at the CDM was broken, and they had to wait very long to gain approval to use the 3D printer at Emily Carr and paid two hundred dollars for using the machine (Jenab, Personal Communication, 2019).
From the interviews，the absence of a maker lab limited the capacity of the CDM to accommodate a wider variety of projects and limited the scope of the faculty members in envisioning the quality and form of final deliverables. Due to the lack of maker lab, students spent much time sourcing for materials, looking for equipment, and commuting to art supply stores and public maker spaces. The financial cost of making physical prototypes can also be unbearably high.
I also sent out the survey. The survey results show that the majority of CDM students want and have demonstrated needs for a maker lab.
For CDM students who need to work on the physical elements of their projects, the CDM Maker Lab is a dedicated space with the necessary equipment, tools, and supplies that gives students a conducive environment to make, test, and learn as a team. Unlike other maker labs, our maker lab facilitates a unique CDM experience.
The physical site of the maker lab is an old mechanical room in building 577 on Great Northern Way. The area of the room is approximately 118 square meters.
The room is filled with obsolete mechanical systems such as pipes and ventilation ducts
\ A digital 3D rendering for understanding the space.
- Flexible space configurations
- Good indoor lighting conditions
- Different sections for specialized tools
- Separated space for groups which need more privacy
- Sufficient working tables
- Sufficient storage space
- Minimal and modern interior design
- An informal atmosphere
- The CDM flare
Equipment and tools that CDM students think would be most useful to have in the CDM Maker Lab
Final Design Philosophy:
Skylights are introduced to bring natural light into the maker lab.
A separate ventilation system is designed to provide air circulation for the maker space.
Acoustic ceiling panels are designed below the ventilation pipes. The purpose of these panels is to control the noise level and reduce conflicts caused by noise distraction.
Below the acoustic panels, a ceiling grid system is introduced. The purpose of the ceiling grid is to provide tracks and structural support for hanging electrical outlets and cables with clamps to pull the working tables up.
The main area is divided into different zones to fulfill different user needs and requirements. Equipment, such as a 3D printer, laser cutter, and sewing machines are put along the wall to free the central space for group collaborations.
the entire central area is dedicated to making prototypes. Tables and chairs are arranged in a way to maximize occupancy and accommodate both group and individual projects.
the main space is divided into a making zone and a learning zone. Due to the presence of the insulation ceiling panels, the volume of voice and noise can be better controlled to minimize conflicts.
A soldering station is located along one side of the wall close to the paint spray room. The retractable ventilation pipe can be pulled down to extract fumes.
the blueprint of the maker lab management system, which consists of two sections — lab management and website management.