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Pilot Projects

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a combined image of a computer controlled loom and a partially build soda kiln
Applied Physics

Traditional craft meets modern science: new making infrastructure at the PRL

We will be commissioning a TC2 computer-controlled loom and building a ceramics soda kiln for use in courses that center student making, as well as student making opportunities organized around workshops and maker/artist residencies. At a place like Stanford, both weaving and ceramics are activities that connect traditional craft and histories of material culture with contemporary engineering and materials science. We expect that this new making infrastructure will help grow stronger ties between the Product Realization Lab and the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities, and engage new groups from Art Practice, Computer Science, Theater and Performance Studies, and Materials Science & Engineering.

Hideo Mabuchi

Two students demonstrate their soft actuators
Mechanical Engineering

ME303/MatSci333: Making Soft Robots and Soft Composites

The objective of this proposal is to request funding to support the lab sessions and finalproject of ME303/ MatSci333 Soft Composites and Soft Robotics. This is a project-based course that covers the fundamentals of soft materials and soft composites inthe aspects of mechanical characterization, polymer physics, and advanced materialfabrication including different 3D printing technologies for soft composites. The goal of thehands-on experience is to provide our students with the opportunity to fabricate softmaterials as building blocks for soft robots through 3D printing and molding methods.

Renee Zhao

Art & Art History

McMurtry Building Sculpture Lab Technical Support

Our vision is to enhance our vibrant space where art ideas are manifested in materials, utilizing our multifaceted equipment to its fullest potential. Art making requires time and space to think with materials, tools, and gain proficiency to realize concepts. The making@stanford seed funding will effectively increase our student shop hour accessibility each week and increase tool specific training and workshops.

Terry Berlier, Kerri Conlon and the Art Practice faculty


ITALIC 99 Student-Led Courses

ITALIC 99 is a series of 1-unit hands-on making courses taught by students who participated in ITALIC, a residence-based, interdisciplinary arts program, during their first year at Stanford. Since 2017, students have taught 44 different courses in areas as diverse as improv comedy, digital interaction design, watercolor sketching, spoken word poetry, and even beginning music theory taught on toy instruments. The courses vastly expand the hands-on making experiences available to Stanford students, at the same time that they offer formative experiences for students interested in pursuing careers in teaching.

Kim Beil

Mechanical Engineering, Classics

How to Redesign Everyday Things (for Beginners)

Design encompasses a complex nexus of activity including ideating, prototyping, sharing, breaking, repairing, and discarding things. To help students understand and contextualize this process, we are developing a new class that focuses 3 lenses on familiar everyday designed objects: (a) historic and societal influences, (b) user interaction considerations, and (c) redesign and prototyping opportunities. Our teaching approach mirrors these lenses, combining lessons in society, design and usability, and practical skills in making, to bring new perspectives to undergraduates in both humanities and engineering.

Rebecca Currano, Veronika Domova, David Sirkin, Michael Shanks, Mark Cutkosky

Mechanical Engineering

ME349 The Science and the Practice of Metal 3D Printing

In this course, the students will not only learn the physical and metallurgical principles involved in metal 3D printing, but they will also take these principles into consideration when designing and evaluating the performance of a printed part. They will use simulation tools for innovative designs and process physical modeling. Students taking the lab component will learn to operate the metal 3D printer throughout the quarter, and print their design as a part of their final project.

Adrian Lew and Wei Cai

CEE/Architectural Design

Update the Architecture Studio

This grant will help upgrade the current space with improved equipment and layout to enable greater creativity and community.

John Barton and Amy Larimer

Geophysics, Electrical Engineering

Taking The Pulse of the Planet Course

Taking the Pulse of the Planet is a new interdisciplinary project-based course with the goal of engaging undergraduates in systems design and teaching them how to access or collect, process, and interpret sensor data with the goal of understanding the challenges we are facing in the areas of sustainability and climate change. With this course, and the tools we are developing, we expect to introduce undergraduates from across the university to maker spaces and expand the Stanford maker community to include sensing and environmental science.

Olav Solgaard, Anne Kroo

Mechanical Engineering

Virtual Personal Visits to Stanford Maker Spaces

Stanford provides a variety of well-equipped maker spaces and a world-class program in how to use them, yet students with no prior experience in making can be intimidated by the machinery or the complexity of skill involved in learning to use it. We are creating a virtual experience of Stanford’s maker spaces that will invite students to explore, learn about equipment and activities, and hear from fellow students who have developed making skills using these spaces and the resources they offer. Our project aims to encourage many more students to feel welcome and confident in their ability to learn to use these spaces.

Rebecca Currano, Veronika Domova, David Sirkin, Mark Cutkosky

Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering

Postdoc Mentoring of Undergraduate Making Projects in Uytengsu Teaching Labs - Pilot Program

This pilot creates a mentoring program to support independent undergraduate bio-focused making projects. It recruits and supports postdoctoral scholars or advanced graduate students as mentors from Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Biosciences, and related fields to help guide undergraduate project teams in planning and executing their experimental work, using domain-specific expertise. We aim for a ‘win-win-win’ scenario in which: the undergraduates can advance their projects and develop greater experience with making in this context, the mentors can get experience with guiding open-ended undergraduate teams (potentially working toward publications or other meaningful benchmarks), and the UTL can experience greater utilization with a more diverse community.

Ross Venook, Drew Endy, Alex Engel, Jeff Tok, Mong Saetern

Stanford Libraries

making@stanford Libraries

Stanford Libraries operates the Textile Makerspace in Pigott Hall, the Terman Library Maker Bar, and the Miller Makerspace at Hopkins Marine Station. This pilot will enable us to support additional staffed open hours, build community through synchronous virtual making events across our sites, and add equipment to ensure a consistent toolkit for our makers.

Quinn Dombrowski; Zac Painter; Amanda Whitmire


Funding the Creation of BIOE 261: Biofabrication Laboratory

We are creating a new mezzanine class (BIOE 261: Biofabrication Laboratory) to teach the principles and practice of 3D bioprinting. For the first four weeks, students will learn how to build and operate 3D bioprinters from kits. Following this, students will have six weeks to work on independent projects to develop new hardware, materials, or software, or to develop 3D biological assays to probe biological behaviours in 3D. The funds provided by Making @ Stanford will support the creation of new bioprinters, materials, and equipment for the student projects.

Mark Skylar-Scott

Graduate School of Education

What Makes a Maker?

The first step to improving access to maker courses is to know what a maker course is all about. We are fortunate to have a wide range of courses at Stanford, that approach making from a variety of perspectives. This project will study those courses to gather insights about definitions, pedagogies, and practices that fall under the umbrella of “making."

Karin Forssell and Aaron Ragsdale

Department of Theater and Performance Studies

Theater Making Design Space

From set building, to costume, to lighting, our spaces inherently have a maker focus, but while they are an amazing resource, they aren’t set up to easily accommodate student focused projects. We want TAPS to be a playground of experimentation, accessible to all students on campus that want to interact with the physical process of storymaking. In order to get closer to our goal, we need to reimagine our spaces. Our design lab is out of date, missing basic tools, and is too small to accommodate our growing classes in Design and Production. 

Becky Bodurtha and Nina Ball

Applied Physics

Expanded Project Areas and Experiments for the Applied Physics Laboratory Electronics and Experimental Methods Classes

Our Pilot expands the project areas available in the second quarter of the Laboratory Electronics classes. These courses are central for the development of experimental hands-on skills necessary for research. In the second quarter, students build and test projects in diverse areas from Biophysics to Quantum Systems, these projects often become measurement techniques or new instrument ideas that are part of their Ph.D. research. The Pilot funds are strengthening the general-purpose analog signal processing lab equipment used in the first quarter, and adding new technical areas in high frequency and microwave systems, opto-electronics and lasers, and sensing technology to the lab's inventory of example systems. The Pilot funds also upgrade the materials used to teach design of FPGA and reconfigurable digital signal processing building blocks used in class lab exercises, as well as provide platforms for the student projects.

John Fox

Mechanical Engineering

ME248: The Silver Pendant Project

In this 1-unit, spring quarter workshop, students will design and create a silver pendant. Beginning with a basic introduction to design and CAD, students will use a computer aided design tool to create a 3D model of their pendant design. Next, using machines and processes at the Product Realization Lab, students will build a version of their part in a wax-like material. This part will then be used in a lost-wax investment casting process to turn the printed part into a cast silver part. Finally, the students will be introduced to a set of hand tools they will use to turn their cast silver part into a finished silver pendant.

Sara Shaughnessy and Amanda Knox Sather