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UNC Asheville Makerspace Brings Together Engineering, Art, Computer Science

Image Credit: UNC Asheville.

The University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC Asheville) last month opened a new makerspace that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among students, encouraging engineers, artists and entrepreneurs to work alongside each other as well as faculty and staff experts.

The new STEAM Studio is located adjacent to campus at the River Arts Makers Place (RAMP).

The RAMP, a 100,000-square-foot building, “brings together innovation, design and fabrication,” according to a news release. It has multiple working artist and design studios and a glass-blowing space, to name a few spaces on site.

Housed inside the RAMP, the 12,000-square-foot STEAM Studio has a design and prototyping facility as well as a second-story compter lab. It has equipment for 3D modeling and printing, a CNC plasma cutter, table router, mill, lathe, laser, water jet and engraver. There is metal fabrication equipment and a state-of-the-art woodworking facility as well.  

The makerspace also offers a Creative Fabrication course, a cross-disciplinary class that pairs mechatronics engineering and art students to create assistive technologies. Students have already designed and built an ergonomic cell phone holder, a customized arm brace and prosthetic limb for a cat, for example.

The university used several grants to make the studio possible, including a $400,000 grant from Duke Energy, a $500,000 grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation and a $100,000 contribution from North Carolina State University, which will also use the facility and equipment.

“These makers and entrepreneurs need the space and excellent equipment to do their best work, and in creating this lab with the support of the Windgate Charitable Foundation and Duke Energy Foundation, we are providing the tools to hone their craft, to think critically and creatively and to find solutions for the future. It’s an investment in innovation,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary Grant, in a news release.

Further information is available on the STEAM Studio site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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