New Makerspace Opens On Campus

Blue makerspace

The new 3,000-square-foot Blue makerspace is located in Carmichael Residence Hall. (UNC photo)

Blue, a new makerspace on campus, is the first of its kind to be located in a residence hall.

The 3,000-square-foot collaborative workspace, housing both high-tech and no-tech tools, is on the ground floor of Carmichael Residence Hall. This is the fourth makerspace to open as part of the campus Be a Maker (BeAM) network since 2016, allowing students to collaborate on the design and making of objects for education, research, entrepreneurship and recreation. Spaces are equipped with technologies like 3-D printing as well as wood and metalworking shops.

“We have a simple goal, which is to make sure that Carolina is a place where innovators thrive,” says Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. “The University wants to provide makerspaces like this because ideas come from all over campus, and we’re committed to helping people make their ideas real through the tangible process of making and doing.”

The new Blue space includes:

  • 24 state-of-the-art 3-D printers, the largest collection of these printers in a single location across campus;
  • An embroidery machine, the only such piece of equipment in the Carolina makerspace network;
  • A Klic-N-Kut machine that cuts various materials, including paper and vinyl;
  • Hand tools and workbenches;
  • Electronics prototyping equipment;
  • A full-service kitchen that can be used by individuals and for events; and
  • An entrepreneurial think-tank space where visitors can meet, study and discuss ideas.

Blue is a partnership between BeAM, Carolina Housing, the Blue Residential Learning Program and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Carmichael houses 21 students who are part of a residential learning community organized by the center, a connection meant to encourage entrepreneurial thinking in the Blue environment.

“I’m really excited about this facility because it brings making and entrepreneurship together as a fusion, and as a consequence, I think you are going to see communities formed where making and building ventures will become part of the Carolina experience,” said Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Blue, open 4-10 p.m., is available to the entire Carolina community. Participants first attend an orientation session and then are trained on specific pieces of equipment. Training can be done at any of the BeAM spaces on campus.

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