October 20, 2017
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Forward Thinking

New tech space strives to help community
Dr. Art Chlebowski from USI’s College of Engineering leads a MakerCourse 101 class.

Great ideas can happen anywhere. The MakerStation, a technology-driven MakerSpace in Evansville, is now providing an area and the tools for those ideas to occur on Main Street in Downtown.

MakerStation calls the bottom floor of Innovation Pointe, 318 Main Street, home. The purpose of a MakerSpace is to be a workroom open for people to create, invent, tinker, and explore a specific subject together, whether they are artists, woodworkers, or engineers.

Dr. Drew F. Peyronnin, founder of Tech on Tap, says Evansville’s MakerStation was launched in January 2015 to look at the threats of disruptive technologies on manufacturing materials and techniques important to the local economy. Those with different skill sets could then use the space to work on building their own new technologies with desktop digital manufacturing and electronic prototyping. Currently the space is membership-based but does offer free open hours and classes, which are announced on the Tech on Tap website.

“MakerSpaces are big right now,” says Peyronnin. “It’s a very broad term because it really is a space where you can make all kinds of different things.”

MakerStation provides a computer lab for design, laser and computer numeric control milling tools, and a 3D printing machine to students, experienced engineers, and those with little to no skill who are interested in new technology. The computer lab came together thanks to a recent grant from AT&T. The MakerStation purchased computer components, and 24 students from Cedar Hall Community School and New Tech Institute, along with eight volunteers, built the computers in December.

In addition to AT&T, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, University of Southern Indiana, Lieberman Technologies, and Ciholas sponsor the space. MakerStation also partners with USI’s new Applied Engineering Center to provide access to top-end industrial tooling.

Peyronnin hopes other groups and businesses, like Haier America, become involved as well to form connections and create a flow of ideas. “My vision is there would be MakerSpaces all over the place, doing all kinds of different things, and all highly collaborative,” he says.

For more information about MakerStation, visit tech-on-tap.com/makerspace.

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