New MakerSpace Finds NYU Tandon and Brooklyn in the Thick of the Maker Movement

Undergraduate and Graduate Students, Start-ups and K-12 STEM Participants Will Harness the Power of Industry-Level Equipment

MakerSpace 3D printers

BROOKLYN, New York – On Tuesday, September 20, the New York University Tandon School of Engineering will cut the ribbon on its new MakerSpace, a collaborative work space and lab that will encourage new kinds of iterative, interdisciplinary teamwork using cutting-edge tools for rapid prototyping and digitally driven production.

In addition to numerous 3D printers, laser cutters, vacuum formers, and soldering stations, the bi-level, 10,000-square-foot space includes several pieces of equipment that students do not typically access unless they are in specialized graduate laboratories.

The opening is part of the Inauguration Celebration Week (September 19-25) honoring NYU’s 16th president, Andrew Hamilton, whose vision for the University includes multidisciplinary, cross-institution initiatives exactly like the MakerSpace, which is available to students from any NYU school.

Most of the equipment in the new facility in NYU Tandon’s Rogers Hall is simple, easily learned, and suitable for student projects. But with special training, students will have the opportunity to work on commercial-grade machinery seldom available at universities. These machines include:

  • A powerful water-jet cutter, which can be used on reflective and heat-sensitive materials such as copper or aluminum that cannot be machined with lasers
  • A high-speed, high-precision “pick and place” machine, used to place electronic components onto printed circuit boards
  • A micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) unit that will non-destructively image the internal structure of objects on an exceptionally fine scale
  • A plastic injection machine, which will introduce aspiring entrepreneurs to the process of mass manufacturing
  • An electro-dynamic shaker, which tests a product or model under varying conditions of motion, acceleration, and force.
NYU Tandon student Madeleine Nicolas demonstrates the Epilog Mini 24 Laser Cutter. Students must receive safety training before they can use the machines in the MakerSpace.

NYU Tandon student Madeleine Nicolas demonstrates the Epilog Mini 24 Laser Cutter. Students must receive safety training before they can use the machines in the MakerSpace.

The MakerSpace supports NYU Tandon’s core mission of placing technology in service to society by encouraging an ethos of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in even its youngest students. The facility will provide a stimulating environment for fostering human exchanges and collaborative learning and serve as a focal point for student design projects. It will also provide a point of connection for the broader tech and engineering community of New York City by hosting hackathons, guest lectures, special events, student projects emanating from NYU Tandon’s Future Labs startup-business incubators, and its Center for K12 STEM Education.

Additionally, the space will serve as a hub for NYU Tandon’s participation in the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) consortium, which promotes an intensive integrated curriculum that stresses project-based, interdisciplinary study and teamwork. Faculty members from other engineering programs also plan to hold classes in the MakerSpace.

"I hope that the MakerSpace will be used by the students to generate many new and creative ideas collaboratively,” Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan said. “Often, Tandon students would like to test them by building prototypes. The MakerSpace fills this lacuna. Furthermore, I hope that many of our technological ideas will be used for creating something tangible, to further societal good. The new MakerSpace will empower our students to pursue this mission.”

“The MakerSpace is both a fantastically well-equipped new place for students to transform creative ideas into solid form and an important piece of NYU’s exciting future in Brooklyn," said President Hamilton. “The MakerSpace is a symbol of NYU’s bold plans for bringing its own unique blend of technology, creativity, and innovation here to Brooklyn, the fast-beating heart of New York’s burgeoning tech sector, and our embrace of this great borough."

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York Senator Martin J. Golden will participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

At the behest of New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, the New York City Council provided $150,000 for 3D printers, to further innovation and entrepreneurial activities in Brooklyn and the City. "For the future generation's sake, we must continue on the path towards becoming an innovation capital," he said. "Our children are natural-born inventors, and their creativity and ingenuity should be nurtured. NYU's commitment to investing in high-quality, cutting-edge design space will not only improve the lives of the individuals involved, but also stands to improve the community at large by encouraging technological problem solving. Our young people are our best investment, and I'm proud to have supported a project that sets an example for institutions around the world."

Steve Kuyan, NYU Tandon managing director of incubators and entrepreneurship, said: “Access to prototyping equipment is fundamental to supporting the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem at NYU Tandon. The close proximity will allow students to go from idea to prototype quicker and with higher frequency.”

Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Vikram Kapila, who is the academic lead for the Center for K12 Education, said: “NYU Tandon's new MakerSpace will be an unparalleled resource that will enable students to work with cutting-edge rapid prototyping tools to transform their creative imaginations into physical artifacts to test, analyze, and evaluate in real-world conditions. Experience with novel materials, technologies, and creative process will help them understand how to apply their classroom learning to solve real-world engineering challenges. Their experiences will help them visualize pathways to college-level engineering education and careers.  MakerSpace activities will also help teachers envision novel ways to address Next Generation Science Standards that explicitly integrate engineering design in K-12 science education.

The MakerSpace is part of NYU Tandon’s answer to President Barack Obama’s call to build a Nation of Makers, empowering its students to create, innovate, tinker, and turn their ideas into reality. But it treats the challenges of ideation and prototyping with an occasional wink. Two giant banners overhang the workspace:

“Mr. Edison, please tell me what lab rules you would like me to observe.”
      – M.A. Rosenoff

“There ain’t no rules around here. We are trying to accomplish something.”
      – Thomas Edison


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About the NYU Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within the country’s largest private research university and is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program.