COC opens second interactive MakerSpace for community

By Christina Cox

Last update: Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Community members and students at College of the Canyons now have a new place to foster their creativity and create manufactured works.

COC officially unveiled its second MakerSpace facility Wednesday at the college’s Canyon Country campus, complete with computers, a 3D printer, modeling software and robotics.

The space is meant to “enable community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone,” according to COC’s website.

“If somebody is an inventor, a creative genius or just a tinkerer, they can come to MakerSpace and explore, develop or even build out a concept to its fruition,” said Dr. Ron McFarland, dean of COC’s School of Applied Technologies.

MakerSpaces include not only electrical, mechanical engineering and technologies, but also computer and cybersecurity technologies, McFarland said.  The facilities each have their own character and are designed to fit the needs of those that use them.

“We’ll shape up our MakerSpace for what the campus and community demands because not every MakerSpace is one-size-fits all,” McFarland said.  “It’s sort of an organic development.”

The Canyon Country’s MakerSpace is still in the developmental, “start-up” stages and is looking to garner additional funding from grants and college capital for additional tools and materials.

At COC’s Valencia MakerSpace which opened in May, students have access to electronics, robotics, 3D printing, manufacturing and CNC routing, laser etching and cutting, and a sewing machine.

Visitors watch a mechanical robot move based on a coded script at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus MakerSpace open house on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Visitors watch a mechanical robot move based on a coded script at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus MakerSpace open house on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/Signal

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in,” said Chris Walker, manager of Valencia’s MakerSpace who has experience in the electronic engineering and architectural fields.  “We have at least one or two people in there every day 3D printing.  We have our regular set that spends the week there.”

Thus far, the biggest users of Valencia’s MakerSpace are students in the architecture program and interior design program because they are always making models, McFarland said.

“The engineering department has shown some interest and also the computer science people have started an ACM club, which stands for Association for Computing Machinery, and they’re using the MakerSpace,” McFarland said.

In the future, McFarland hopes to develop MakerSpace challenges, work with the Hart District, collaborate with the Santa Clarita Public Library, institute coding competitions and create a MakerSpace club.

“Aside from the hands-on activities, we’ll also be presenting a series of lectures and presenters over the next year for people from the maker community,” McFarland said.

Altogether, McFarland and Walker hope two spaces are places for students and community members to learn, explore and share ideas.

“I’m hoping that everyone comes and utilizes it,” Walker.  “It’s a great place; all the tools and resources are there for people to bring their dreams to life, and that’s basically what it’s all about.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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COC opens second interactive MakerSpace for community

Alexander Walker controls a mechanical arm with two thumb-sized joysticks at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus MakerSpace open house on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Community members and students at College of the Canyons now have a new place to foster their creativity and create manufactured works.

COC officially unveiled its second MakerSpace facility Wednesday at the college’s Canyon Country campus, complete with computers, a 3D printer, modeling software and robotics.

The space is meant to “enable community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone,” according to COC’s website.

“If somebody is an inventor, a creative genius or just a tinkerer, they can come to MakerSpace and explore, develop or even build out a concept to its fruition,” said Dr. Ron McFarland, dean of COC’s School of Applied Technologies.

MakerSpaces include not only electrical, mechanical engineering and technologies, but also computer and cybersecurity technologies, McFarland said.  The facilities each have their own character and are designed to fit the needs of those that use them.

“We’ll shape up our MakerSpace for what the campus and community demands because not every MakerSpace is one-size-fits all,” McFarland said.  “It’s sort of an organic development.”

The Canyon Country’s MakerSpace is still in the developmental, “start-up” stages and is looking to garner additional funding from grants and college capital for additional tools and materials.

At COC’s Valencia MakerSpace which opened in May, students have access to electronics, robotics, 3D printing, manufacturing and CNC routing, laser etching and cutting, and a sewing machine.

Visitors watch a mechanical robot move based on a coded script at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus MakerSpace open house on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Visitors watch a mechanical robot move based on a coded script at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus MakerSpace open house on Wednesday. Katharine Lotze/Signal

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in,” said Chris Walker, manager of Valencia’s MakerSpace who has experience in the electronic engineering and architectural fields.  “We have at least one or two people in there every day 3D printing.  We have our regular set that spends the week there.”

Thus far, the biggest users of Valencia’s MakerSpace are students in the architecture program and interior design program because they are always making models, McFarland said.

“The engineering department has shown some interest and also the computer science people have started an ACM club, which stands for Association for Computing Machinery, and they’re using the MakerSpace,” McFarland said.

In the future, McFarland hopes to develop MakerSpace challenges, work with the Hart District, collaborate with the Santa Clarita Public Library, institute coding competitions and create a MakerSpace club.

“Aside from the hands-on activities, we’ll also be presenting a series of lectures and presenters over the next year for people from the maker community,” McFarland said.

Altogether, McFarland and Walker hope two spaces are places for students and community members to learn, explore and share ideas.

“I’m hoping that everyone comes and utilizes it,” Walker.  “It’s a great place; all the tools and resources are there for people to bring their dreams to life, and that’s basically what it’s all about.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

About the author

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.