Making it Real

Published in MIT News on May 12 by Michael Patrick Rutter, School of Engineering

Two new programs, MakerBucks and MakerLodge, for MIT freshman will provide training, funds, and community for makers.

The maker movement is on the rise.

From electronics to robotics, metalworking to woodworking, jewelry making to composting, popular fascination with the maker culture is quickly spreading and inspiring a new crop of do-it-yourselfers.

As a home of making, MIT is no stranger to this movement. With over 40 spaces dedicated for the MIT community to build, design, and tinker, the Institute is even more committed to maximizing the impact of making upon academic and extracurricular life.

To advance this mission, two new programs will debut to get students making faster and earlier. Starting in fall 2016, every MIT freshman will be invited to the MakerLodge to learn about 3-D printers, laser cutters, soldering, CNC milling machines, and all the other tools spread across MIT’s 130,000 square feet of makerspaces.

Once students prove they can operate the equipment safely and competently, they’ll gain access to 10 makerspaces and receive MakerBucks, a debit account of $100 to purchase materials and time on the machines of their choosing around campus. They’ll also be matched with communities of other students who have shared interests, such as in robots, glasswork, or woodworking...

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