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Project Manus is MIT’s effort to upgrade campus makerspaces and foster student maker communities.

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77 Massachusetts Ave,
Building 35-237
Cambridge, MA 02139

Phone

(617) 258-7609

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Making at MIT

In a makersystem, local makerspaces network together to offer specialized capabilities to a larger community.

For Students

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Mobius

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Our System

In a makersystem, local makerspaces network together to offer specialized capabilities to a larger community (e.g. a campus). MIT’s makersystem includes makerspaces tailored for entrepreneurship, the arts, class projects, metal working, wood working, glass working, micro/nano making, biomaking, unrestricted use, etc.

Historically, networking of the spaces has occurred informally. We are in the process of facilitating this via the Mobius web app and increased interaction between the local makerspace communities.

The Mens et Manus Network

In a recent campus-wide survey, MechE "Maker Czar" and professor Martin Culpepper found students avidly interested in hands-on learning and making things. After working with Facilities to locate and map MIT's 130,000 square feet of maker spaces, Culpepper is now leading the development of an app, Mobius, that will help students acquire training, book spaces and machines, and pay for materials at any node in the network of opportunities on campus.

Mens et manus network

Makerspaces at MIT (and many universities) are usually one of three types. They all have similar maker tools, but their community elements differ, and they are purposed and managed in a different way:

  • Machine shops – Spaces that specialize in training/mentoring/making on the creation of complex systems and/or fine-detailed components. Interaction with staff (skilled machinist educators) is their key value, so they specialize in quality of maker education/work vs. quantity of students served.
  • Project makerspaces – Spaces that primarily support class projects. These spaces usually contain more resources to facilitate collaboration, i.e. meeting space and open working space. The key value of these spaces is in their ability to integrate specific resources that enable programmed, curriculum-based learning.
  • Community makerspaces – Prioritizes fostering unrestricted making via a community effort. The community members serve as stewards of the space/resources and educate users in safe making practices. The key value of these spaces is the community’s ability to facilitate access to more users, particularly early/novice users.
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Dozens of Makerspaces proliferate across MIT’s campus, giving the MIT community access to a host of tools—from chisels, saws, and belt sanders to 3-D printers, welding machines, and oscilloscopes—to bring their ideas to life.
Illustration for Spectrum Magazine by Adam Simpson

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Many spaces are hybrids, primarily of one type but that have elements of another type. In all of our MIT campus makerspaces, the students do the work. We don’t consider ‘work for hire’ areas to be makerspaces because they don’t facilitate personal making… they are job shops. At left you’ll find the breakdown of makerspace types on MIT’s campus as of December 2015.

MIT is adding a new state-of-the-art, 17,000ft2 community makerspace – the MET makerspace – to help meet the general making needs of our campus. This graphic shows the expected breakdown of space after the MET makerspace comes online.

MIT's Major Makerspaces

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