One of the best parts about the Think Tank is getting to see the practical application of what people are learning. For students to be able to access manufacturing technology, and to know how to use that technology when they enter the workforce, that’s exciting for me.
Creativity is flowing once again over at Bridgewater State University’s makerspace, better known as the BSU Think Tank.
The Think Tank opened in 2018 but the pandemic and space restrictions forced it to temporarily close its doors. On March 18, an open house was held to welcome back members of the BSU community.
Located in room 151 of the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center (DMF), BSU students, faculty and staff are invited to use the Think Tank to tap into their creativity.
Some of the tools offered in the laboratory include 3D scanners, soldering stations, laser cutters, saws, vacuum chambers, a computer numerical controlled machine and a drill press. If users require something more for a particular project, the Think Tank can still help.
“If someone needs something more specific, like welding for example, we will work with the art department and help coordinate,” said Robert Monteith, Think Tank director and analytical instrumental engineer.
This semester’s open hours are Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During these times, advisers are on hand to help guide and train participants.
However, the goal is to have people develop their own projects.
“We are here to advise and train, but not for people to drop off a project and have us make it for them,” Monteith said.
Before the shutdown, some of the things Monteith watched people make were emulator consoles to use with old gaming systems, speakers built from scratch, and various 3D printing projects.
President Frederick W. Clark, Jr. even stopped by to check things out. During his visit, he scanned his head and the result was printed out using one of the 3D machines.
“We’ve seen various projects that were made for both academic and personal use,” Monteith said.
Despite being closed to the public, the Think Tank was also put to good use early on in the pandemic. That’s when Monteith and his staff were able to use the space to create face shields that were then donated to local medical facilities.
“We did that for two to three months straight and ended up making a couple hundred,” he said.
Now that the BSU Think Tank is back open, Monteith hopes the BSU community will take full advantage.
“No appointment is necessary, the only thing that we have people do is take a safety quiz when they first come in,” he said.
There is a charge for materials, depending on what people are looking to create, and according to Monteith the options are unlimited.
“One of the best parts about the Think Tank is getting to see the practical application of what people are learning. For students to be able to access manufacturing technology, and to know how to use that technology when they enter the workforce, that’s exciting for me,” he said.
For questions or more information about the BSU Think Tank, you can email BSUThinkTank@bridgew.edu.
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