September 28, 2022

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)!

CGA, VIMS & Makerspaces at WRL

This past weekend was a great one if you like GIS, drones & books. The Center for Geospatial Analysis, the Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences, and the Makerspaces at William & Mary were at drone day at the Williamsburg Regional Library in Toana. It was a great day to engage with interested peoples of all ages, demonstrate larger scale UAVs such as those used in mapping coastline changes at VIMS, and get younger kids’ hands-on with small drones flying them through an obstacle course. If this sounds like fun, stay tuned for upcoming events with the CGA, VIMS, and the Makerspaces.

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

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

Welcome back! It’s so mice to see you again!

Welcome back to campus everyone! It’s the start of the Spring semester, and it’s 2022! Can you believe it? While you were gone we kept chugging away on some fun projects. Did you know that the Makerspaces at William & Mary love helping faculty get research going by prototyping needed hardware? This winter break we finished a fun project request from the Del Negro neuroscience laboratory, a precision treadmill for a mouse along with some other contraptions for studying effects on locomotion. We hope our little mice friends enjoy their new health club, take a look:

The Makerspaces at William & Mary has a lot of great things coming this semester. While we still have all the features of last semester such as 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC machining, sewing & embroidery, and more at Swem, Small Hall and elsewhere; this semester we’ll also be rolling out a program for everyone wanting to learn to fly and program UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Systems, Drones)!

In conjunction with VIMS, the CGA, and W&M Athletics, the Makerspaces will be hosting UAV flying sessions at Martin Family Stadium every Friday morning from 8am-11am (weather permitting). We’ll bring our fleet of heavy lift UAVs and see you there! If the weather is bad, then we’ll be in the Small Hall Makerspace Center learning how to program autonomous flight using open source hardware. If this sounds of interest, great! Come join the fun. If it sounds really interesting, stop by and we’ll talk about you getting your FAA part 107 commercial UAV pilots’ license as well!

A practice session in the Fall

As always, check the calendar for upcoming sessions and open times or put a request into our online ticketing system and a makerspace student engineer will get back to you as soon as we can.