Are STEM Education and Makerspaces / Maker Movement separate items? In fact, they complement each other. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education has been spreading globally and the Maker Movement has proved itself to be a valuable component of this ecosystem. The maker movement involves open-ended creativity, development of critical thinking and intellectual flexibility, as well as instill confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Building a makerspace is fairly straightforward, and usually incorporates a few key items like 3D printers, sewing machines, power tools, soldering gear, and lately a laser cutter. It is a shared space where people use a set of shared tools for making things. A facilitator is usually there to help guide the users and if needed, teach them how to use the tools. Sometimes, users come in groups and they can also be guided by their peers, which is particularly valuable in STEM education. Makerspaces can be designed and built to cater to the users. From young kids to adults, the equipment used can be tailored specifically to the audience. Thus a flexible Makerspace is important in order to cater to a wide variety of users, or if it is built in a school, then it makes it a lot easier as the user segment is already identified. One of the common issue that is important in Makerspaces is safety. Safety needs to be at the forefront from the very beginning, especially since it can impact how the space is designed and used. In addition to keeping safe practices in mind, it is also important that rules are set and users follow them. Create a set of clearly written rules, and mount them in multiple locations throughout the space. Also make sure the personal protective gear like goggles and ear protection, is readily available. Working in the Makerspace is fun until someone hurts him or herself. Storing of tools and materials is another area that needs to be thought through in building a Makerspace. Storage systems need to make sense to users, such as it has to be accessible and visible. Also keeping tools that are most commonly used out in the open or an accessible place. Another thing to consider is machine downtime. What some owners in their makerspaces do to minimise downtime and to be more productive in the long run is to get two less expensive machines than one expensive one as it allows for more flexibility. Also, it is good practice to have someone involved who is comfortable tinkering and fixing things when they break. Waiting for an outside source to come in for a simple adjustment wastes a lot of time and money. Purchase machines where the manufacturer is close by helps to minimise downtime and cost. Also, try to set up the space and activities as to avoid a machine bottleneck whenever possible. For example, having multiple machines vs one machine. Once your Makerspace is set up, the other area is to have activities that drive the use of the Makerspace. One. of the best ways of doing it is to describe a problem that a set of users would care about. Then the most important step is to ask the users to come up with their own design and solution to solve the problem. This will empower the users and help to prevent cloning and duplicating of previous designs. If you are into creating a Makerspace or would just like to have a set of tools in your own apartment, do consider the CraftLaser. It is the only portable Class 1 Laser Safe Laser Cutter and Engraver in the world. Safe for children to use, portable where you do not need a fix location to use the machine. Use it and store it at a corner when you’re done. Full plug and play. Lastly, affordable with full local support in Singapore as compared to equivalent powered systems which can be much more expensive to purchase and maintain. For more information or to schedule a demo at our office, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 9879 9992.