Articles by author: tlewis3

  • Makerspace News – End of Year

    What a year it’s been. 2020 is certainly going to be remembered in the Brock Makerspace as the year we made the Makerspace virtual! We have some new exciting events coming up in the new semester, so lets take a look.

    New ways to Learn and Collaborate in 2021

    New Workshops:  Intro to Soundcloud will be a new workshop added in 2021. This workshop is a great way for your students to build digital literacy and gain new skills in audio editing and production.

    New collaborative events:  Maker Hour events will give learners the opportunity to create alongside Makerspace staff and your fellow makers a project in 3D Modelling or Digital Audio Creation.

    ‘Ask a Maker’ on Instagram: You can join our live conversations with experts in the maker community and post your questions.  Follow us @brockmakerspace

    All Makerspace events will be hosted online through Lifesize or Instagram and continue to be an excellent resource for individual students and classes alike.


    Using our Website

    The ‘Learning in the Makerspace‘ page is an excellent resource for faculty & students to explore all our synchronous and asynchronous learning tools.  If you want to coordinate an in-class presentation using one of our workshops, email us at 

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    Categories: Makerspace

  • Faculty Collaborations: Dr. Karen Louise Smith

    Over the past three and a half years we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with students and faculty on a variety of personal and curricular based projects.  We got to sit down with Dr. Karen Louise Smith who has been an avid supporter and user of the Makerspace, and we asked her some questions to learn a bit more about what sparked her interest in using the Makerspace.  She has previously collaborated with the Makerspace for another course she teaches, COMM 3P91 – Information Technology: Policies and Issues where students had to 3D print an object to spark a conversation about a controversy that emerges from an information technology theme.

    Dr. Karen Louise Smith

    PhD, University of Toronto
    MA, Simon Fraser University
    BA, McMaster University

    What technology did you use in your class to enhance experiential learning?

    I developed a podcasting assignment for the Social Media course (Comm 2P91 / IASC 2P91 / PCUL 2P91) in the fall 2019 semester that was centered around fake news. The students in my course were able to borrow technologies like a Zoom recorder, or snowball microphone, from the Makerspace to record audio clips to use in their podcasts. After the students recorded their audio, they could continue to edit their podcasts using Audacity software in the Makerspace. Because Audacity is an open source software title, students could also download a copy of the editing program to work on their projects independently.

    What sparked the idea to collaborate with the Makerspace for this class?

    I wanted to collaborate with the Makerspace on this podcasting assignment so that my students could explore the democratic potential of social media. Through this assignment, I wanted my students to tinker, create, and act as media makers versus consumers online. Podcasting provides a relatively early example of a social media genre, which fostered opportunities for creative expression and self-publishing for internet end users. Creating opportunities for my students to create their own digital media closely relates to my previous research on web literacy and citizenship. I remain hopeful that experiencing the democratic potential of the web is one way in which society can resist disinformation, surveillance, exploitation and some of the negative aspects of our digitally mediated lives.

    What has been your overall experience with working with the Makerspace staff and technology resources?

    The Makerspace offers all of the technical equipment that my students need to create a quality podcast. I hear from students that they appreciate that the Makerspace is available virtually every day during the term for drop-in support. Makerspace staff are also readily available to me as a faculty member when I need assistance.

    Do you hope to collaborate with the Makerspace in the Future?

    Yes, I hope to repeat the podcasting assignment again in the Social Media course in 2020.

    We look forward continuing our relationship with Dr. Smith by supporting her innovative and nuanced methods of incorporating Makerspace technology into her pedagogy.


    Dr. Karen Louise Smith

    Social Media course


    Previous research

    Web literacy

    Information Technology: Policies and Issues

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    Categories: Makerspace, Uncategorised

  • Makerspace News

    What’s New This Month!

    Technology Highlight

    In October we introduced the Brother LB6950, Embroidery and Quilting machine to the Makerspace. So far students have regularly been utilizing this classic piece of making technology to learn a new skill or work on a personal project. Our new sewing machine is a great compliment to our Cricut Maker which cuts hundreds of materials quickly and accurately, from the most delicate paper and fabric to matboard and leather.

    This month we’ll be learning how best to use the embroidery function of this machine and creating a series of sewing workshops for the new term. Join us on this journey by visiting the Makerspace.

    IMPORTANT features

    Equipment for Loan – All students, faculty and staff have the ability to borrow technology from our loanable equipment catalogue for up to 3 days. If you are an instructor or faculty member in need of equipment for a course or research, fill out our Support Form to get started. We’ll then follow up with you and schedule a time for you to connect with our knowledgeable Makerspace staff.

    Pay for Print – The Makerspace is open and available for everyone to use, including community members! Our new pay for print model allows all users more freedom to print 3D models from online platforms in your desired resolution. More Details

    Upcoming events & workshops


    Makerspace Event Calendar

    Subscribe to our Experience BU page to stay up to date on our events and learning opportunities.

    Featured Faculty Partnerships

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  • 3D printing. Not as scary as you think!

    Alex came into the space several times before, but this time he was on a mission.  Determined to solve a design problem for his robotics class, he came to the makerspace to work through some possible solutions using 3D printing.

    As usual we wanted to encourage Alex not to simply download something online but to figure out how to ideate and design his solution.  We encourage this to ensure that students are learning innovative design skills through the process of 3D modelling and printing. Alex shares in his own words how he solved his design problems through the process of 3D modelling and printing:

    I am building a LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot for both my robotics class and my machine learning class. I wanted a robot with complex behaviours; one that can learn from its environment. I decided to swap out the low-caliber NXT “brain” that comes with simple programming software, a few MB of RAM and six AA batteries for a BrickPi.

    My problem was that I had to power the Raspberry Pi along with the motors. The motors get powered by 12V NiMH batteries, but these would drain quickly if they also had to power the Raspberry Pi. To counter this, I purchased a heavy-duty portable phone charger. Now this problem was that none of the LEGO pieces fit around the battery nicely without having a lot of space leftover. he closest fit meant that there were an even number of holes in my LEGO pieces, but most of them come with an odd number. This made much of my design asymmetric.

    I stumbled upon a blog written by a person who designed 3D printed lego parts; he had designed one for is Raspberry Pi camera along with other parts (like ball bearings among other things). I was fascinated and downloaded the models. I knew that Brock offered 3D printing services at the Makerspace which I had peeked into a few times before to see what was happening. They recently moved to a larger space and have plenty of printers. I asked to print the part I had downloaded, but they told me I had to design it myself since it was a creative space and they wanted to encourage learning. I offered to learn and they introduced me to TinkerCAD, an online 3D modelling program.

    I ended up using  Fusion 360 by Autodesk and designed the camera case myself. It was a steep learning curve which often involved having dozens of tabs open. I finished one design,was proud of myself, yet I had the whole weekend to consider my work.  I probably designed 6 or 7 cases before I was happy with the final design. I decided I wanted my phone charger and NiMH battery cases to be the same dimension on the outside (with different lengths) so that they would be closely compatible with each other. When I came in the next day, I discovered that my print turned out wonderfully. All of the holes were perfectly sized and when I went to check that all of the sides were compatible, everything fit snugly and perfectly.

    One of the greatest advantages of 3D printing the case was that since the battery is the core of the robot, I now had a large surface with lots of connections and that was sturdy. I also designed it so that the holes were odd-numbered so everything was compatible! I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the wonderful patience and support of the people at the Makerspace. In particular, I really appreciated their willingness to let me print several copies and point me in the right direction when I needed help.


    Alex Van de Kleut

    Brock University, 2019

    Neurocomputing, BSc Honours

    Applications of neuronal structures to machine learning algorithms and artificial general intelligence.


    It will be exciting to see how Alex approaches problem solving now that he has gained literacy in technology surrounding 3D modelling and printing.  

    Written by

    Tabitha Lewis

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    Categories: Makerspace, Testimonials

  • Getting started with 3D Printing

    Have you thought about making something using a 3D printer? If so we can help you get started!

    Step 1: Visit Tinkercad and create an account

    Step 2: Go through the tutorial and learn the basics.

    Once you are all done, visit the Library Makerspace and we can help you print your design.


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  • Student Spotlight: Taking the First Step: Using 3D modeling to enhance learning

    One of our Brock Library Makerspace champions shared a bit with Ultimaker about her journey to becoming proficient in 3D modeling and printing.

    View the blog to learn more.

    Ultimaker Blog



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    Categories: Makerspace, Testimonials

  • Canada 150: Sesqui VR Experience – a Community Event

    Virtual Reality Experience at Homecoming MIWSFPA September 16th, 10-5
    The Brock University Library Makerspace in collaboration with Sesqui is bringing a Virtual Reality Experience to St. Catharines and all are invited. The VR Experience features 5-minute stories about Canadians who are shaping their world through creativity. Visitors to the event can make their own Sesquatch, a virtual identity participants can share in an interactive and playful way.  The Library Makerspace will also be showcasing the emerging technologies such as 3D printing, robotics and circuitry which are available at the James A. Gibson Library.

    Join us on Saturday, September 16th from 10 am to 5 pm at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

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  • Problem-based learning in the Makerspace

    Connecting to the CURRICULUM

    The Accelerated English Language Program (AELP) as part of their curriculum were assigned a problem-based learning task on a bottled water company.  Using an inquiry-based approach, students developed their own question about sustainable design and researched the topic using the library database.  The students developed a business case for their innovative design and prepared a 25 minute business presentation.  As part of the presentation, students produced an actual infused, flavoured sparkling water along with the innovations in the design of the water bottle and water bottle holder.  Once the design was produced, the students went to the Makerspace to produce a prototype of their water bottle holder design.  Students worked on a number of programs before printing their prototype on a 3D printer.  After printing, the students presented their 25 minute business case presenting with the innovations they designed.

    I think the project was successful, as it gave them not only the ability to talk about their ideas, but also insight into the process, which gave them a little more to work with.

    Hand drawn images to 3D models

    Project steps:

    Students took their hand drawn image and scanned it using the website.  We converted the scanned image into an SVG file and imported it into Tinkercad.  We took our new 3D logo and impressed it into a 3D model of a bottle holder 3D model file.  After exporting the new design we sent it to Makerbot Desktop to prepare it for printing.  Below are the images for each stage.

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  • Makerspace and EAP at OAIE conference


    It was such a pleasure partnering with Brock’s ESL Services to participate in the OAIE Conference, June 18th – 20th, 2017. This annual conference was filled with great workshops that explored the challenges and celebrated the accomplishments experienced by International Education all over Ontario. The OAIE conference welcomes educators, administrators, and recruiters who work in EAP programming. 

    As a representative of the Library Makerspace, I really wanted to share some of the collaborations with the Brock IELP students and highlight benefits of the project and inquiry-based learning approaches used in our makerspace. The presentation was well-received by the approximately 30 participants in attendance. For many, this was the first opportunity to hear about Maker spaces and culture in an academic setting. We received a lot of great feedback about our presentation and people were excited about the possibilities for future experiential learning projects they could incorporate within their institutions. 

    One of the conference themes was interdepartmental and community collaboration.  I believe that our proposal showcased a unique collaboration that speaks to the needs of the 21st century learner. One of the benefits of presenting to a diverse group was it gave us further insight into how to better design collaborative programming for the future. 

    EAP & Makerspace Projects: A Unique Collaboration

    Our interactive presentation introduced four novel collaborations especially designed for international students as they transition into undergraduate studies. The focus was on best practices that can be adopted by participants looking to develop projects that appeal to creativity and add learner engagement, or to departments looking to establish connections across campus.

    PRESENTERS: James Papple, Academic Coordinator, Brock University / Tabitha Lewis, IT Support Technician/Makerspace Coordinator, Brock University

    We hope to share more as we learn and try more.

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  • Maker Culture Cafe @ Mahtay

    Wow! Our first Maker Culture Think Tank event was such a success!

    Thanks again to all who were able to come down the day of and support in any way.  Thanks for being supportive of the vision to host fun and interactive events that connect Brock to the community using emerging technology.

     I’ve heard nothing but good things about our May 18th event and I’m excited for what’s ahead.

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