May 26, 2024

AY 23-24, here we go!

We hope you all had a great summer! We sure did. Between winning 3rd place in the unmanned division of the Society of Naval Engineers’ electric propulsion competition, successfully sending students to Madagascar to deploy low cost water sensors in the field, working on an in-flight autonomous air sampling payload for UAVs, adding in a component to the engineering design course around building ‘smart devices’ and tackling some advanced materials science research; we’ve been super busy ourselves. That said, we are super excited for the semester to begin on Wednesday!

The Makerspaces at William & Mary will open for all on Wednesday, August 30th, alongside the start of classes. Please check the calendar for hours & upcoming events and stay tuned for new developments.

As for tool changes & modifications; all systems are up and running including the 3 lasers, 20 printers, CNC router, mill & lathe, sewing and much more. Added to this, we are currently facilitizing a 4’x3′ CNC plasma cutter for use and have fine tuned some procedures around the fiber based laser engraver.

Most importantly; WE ARE HIRING! If you’re interested please apply ASAP through the “About” tab on this page.

Alright, time to build things and in so doing, build ourselves. Time for the 23-24 academic year to begin! WOOHOO!

First year entry & 3rd place finisher in the unmanned division of SNE's electric propulsion competition.

First year entry & 3rd place finisher in the unmanned division of Society of Naval Engineers’ electric propulsion competition.

On the water

Woohoo! Go TRIBE!

Some super advanced material science research underway in an Engineering, Physics & Applied Design Lab in the basement of Small Hall. (Yes, that is our VPR at left, still hands-on in some world class research!)

In Madagascar, 2 students from William & Mary (left), and their partner from Antanarivo, on a remote chat about technology.

Air sampling payload for autonomous UAV data collection.

Working on a new course module for students to gain intuition about data in ‘Smart’ devices in APSC251 Intro to Engineering Design.

Testing the engraving capability on one of the LASERs in the Makerspaces at William & Mary

Semester End

It has been quite the semester here in The Makerspaces. If you’ve been around, you’ve seen countless things get created, from the recent architectural adventures to working on concepts in autonomous boats, classwork involving 3D printed water pumps, custom solutions for research tools like the X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy system at the Applied Research Center, working on setting up a 3D scanning lab, and hosting a sUAS pilot to discuss her roles at NASA.

There’s never a dull moment around here. As we head into the winter break you’ll still see some Makerspaces activity on campus, however, it is likely to be focused on maintenance & repair as well as gearing up for the spring semester.

After December 9th, feel free to stop by to make something by appointment only and with limited staff, additionally, stay tuned for the spring semester opening of our 3D scanning lab located adjacent-behind The Makerspaces at Swem Library wherein we’ll have multiple 3D scanning options for both small and large scales.

Good luck on Finals and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and winter break! See you in the spring!

Welcoming the ’22-’23 academic year!

Welcome back everyone! While you were away, or hadn’t yet been here, we had quite a busy summer. Between fixing equipment, setting up new stuff, helping out with the School of Educations’ Camp Launch, or aiding in the construction of new UAV payloads for environmental sensing; the Makerspaces have been quite active. That said, we are over-the-moon excited to see all of the new faces rolling into Williamsburg ready for a great year!

The Makerspaces will officially open Wednesday, August 31st, alongside the start of classes. However, as we’re almost entirely run by (the best, most awesome-est) students; it will take a few days to get our scheduling setup and posted online.

If you’re new to using the Makerspaces, here’s the basic synopsis: Log into our ticketing system (see the ‘Make an Appt.’ tab above) and request training or usage and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Don’t worry about whether you know how to use something, we’re here to help.

Welcome back, now let’s get to work.

Setting up the environmental testing UAV on the docks at the Chickahominy Boathouse, Summer ’22
A near crash while flying in autonomous mapping mode with the environmental sampling UAV.
9th Grade students in Camp Launch participated in a classic engineering challenge. Using LASER cutting systems to produce the parts themselves; they designed and constructed bridges that held over 100lbs using just 3mm acrylic (plastic)!

Dancing with Drones

Ever wonder what it’s like to dance with a drone? Here are two EPAD (engineering, physics & applied design) students doing the compass calibration dance in order to, well, calibrate the magnetometer onboard a large sUAS. Lastly, a quick video of the first (successful 🙂 ) test flight of a large octocopter sUAS.

Water you up to?

This past UAV flightclub day (every Friday morning, 8-11 @ Albert-Daly Field), some senior EPAD students working on their research project were gathering data for their autonomous water sampling payload. Shown in the video below, they are testing the flight characteristics of hanging a scaled down Niskin bottle with and without water. Once completed, and scaled up to our much larger UAV, this tool will be able help provide 1.1L water samples, autonomously, from the Chesapeake Bay watershed to scientists at VIMS and elsewhere.

If you’re interested in learning more about UAVs and getting some flight time in, feel free to stop by the field on Friday mornings! #FlightClub

Tribe Builds 1

Here’s some recent video of laser cutting stainless steel tabs for a robotics project with Dr. Nelson in Physics. #TribeBuilds

UAV Sessions

If you happened to walk by the Makerspace Center in Small Hall yesterday or today you may have heard all sorts of crazy beeps, blips & bleeps. It wasn’t because we were watching Spaceballs, a classic, it was because we were setting up our fleet of UAVs and learning to program autonomous flight for UAV Flight Club day.

Beeps, Blips & Bleeps of the UAV Fleet

If you’d like to learn to fly, program autonomous flight, or build custom UAVs come join us as we explore everything around modern unmanned aerial systems. Maybe even consider getting your FAA part 107 commercial license?

Open to everyone; we meet every Friday morning at the Martin Family Stadium for flights if the weather permits (no precipitation, temp > freezing), or in the Small Hall Makerspaces Center if we have inclement weather.

UAV FlightClub 1st Day Setup

Making Circuits

Apart from the soldering and electronics stations in the Small Hall Makerspace Center, did you know we also have the capability to mill custom printed circuit boards (PCB). Below is a time lapse made of a student producing their custom simplified synthesizer board.

Relocated Sewing Station for Summer ’21

We’ve relocated the sewing equipment that was stashed in the Swem Makerspace to the Small Hall Makerspace Engineering Center for the summer. Come on over and lets make something! 😀

An end-of-semester Uke!

One of our great makerspace student engineers just finished building this uke from plywood and 3D printed bits using the Laguna CNC router and Airwolf 3D Evo printers; check it out!