The Hub: Skidmore's Makerspace
Tucked away in the middle of South Quad is a hidden treasure trove of tools for Skidmore’s aspiring makers. The Hub, as it is formally known, may just look like an ordinary building on the outside, but inside is a space where students create a wide range of projects from electronics and woodworking to textiles. Darren Prodder, the Hub Manager, hopes students become more aware of the resources The Hub has to offer, and projects students students can make there.
The Hub has six different rooms, all featuring tools and equipment for different fields. The Hub includes electronics, textiles, digital fabrication, desktop cutting, general woodworking tools and a 3D scanning room.
Prodger spoke proudly of the many creations students have made in the makerspace. While he has only been at Skidmore since August, Prodger has already seen quite a few creative projects. He recalls a student who came to prototype packaging for a business idea and a group who made guitar pedal boards for their band. Prodger also mentioned a student who visited The Hub while working on a model sailboat that sails on ice.
Aside from hosting student hobbies, The Hub will also accommodate multiple classes this semester from a wide variety of fields like world languages, physics and psycholinguistics. Prodger explains that a French class will be using the facilities to create silkscreen posters. Another class, The Quest, will be using the space to create banners as a project. Other upcoming class projects include bookmaking, robot building, and “an altered book project in which they’ll take children’s books and modify them to visually represent what your brain is processing,” he explained.
“Students can come on campus to make things that are either supplemental to their classes or if someone just has an interest in making something,” says Prodger. In order to use the space, students must first complete training for the equipment to protect both the student and the equipment from harm.
Right now, The Hub is furnished and supplied mostly with donations and old furniture other departments no longer want, but in the future there will be a much more substantial makerspace in the Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS), called the IdeaLab. Prodger compared the current makerspace to version 2.0, now that it is about two years into its development, but regarding the future in CIS, “we are, in a sense, a prototype for what is going to become version 10.0 when it eventually rolls into the CIS,” he explained.
As for now, Prodger is just trying to work on getting the word out about The Hub. “We’ve had classes that have come down and they’ll pass the word, [like] ‘Hey, do you know about this makerspace down there?’ and the next thing you know we’ve got more and more people coming down,” said Prodger, who hopes The Hub’s updated, more regular hours this semester will also encourage more visits. “We love exciting projects and challenges. We sort of have a motto of ‘If we don’t know how to do it, we’ll help you figure out how to,” said Prodger.
Hours for The Hub and more detailed equipment lists can be found on their website: skidmoremakerspace.com.