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Creating a Makerspace - Start HERE!

Beginning your own Makerspace can be an overwhelming task. A few of the most important things to consider when setting up your Makerspace are audience, time, space, and standards. Use the following resources to learn the basics and beyond of starting your own maker space:  

This website provides everything from grant opportunities to tool reviews to help you get your Makerspace started. The following sections are available on this page: 

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Maker Updates

Grant Opportunities:

  • FirstEnergy: FirstEnergy encourages original, inventive and creative classroom projects and teacher professional development in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Educators who want to energize their STEM classrooms lessons – and learn more innovative and resourceful ways to do so -- are invited to apply for a FirstEnergy STEM Classroom Grant of up to $1,000.
  • NASA IV & V: The NASA WV EPSCoR Committee will provide Travel Grants to researchers at WV colleges and universities to travel to NASA field centers or NASA headquarters. The West Virginia Space Grant Consortium (WVSGC) K-12 Professional and Curriculum Development Program is offering 2018-2019 Space Grants.
  • West Virginia Humanities Council: The council is accepting applications for Major Grants, which are awarded for projects requesting up to $20,000; Fellowships of $2,500, which are awarded annually for scholarly research projects; and Minigrants, which are awarded for projects requesting $1,500 or less.
  • WV Division of Teaching and Learning: Spark Grant will fund student-centered innovation projects for selected schools. Family Engagement in Early and Elementary Mathematics Learning Grant will fund innovative plans for family engagement in the understanding of early mathematics for selected schools. Middle and High School Learning Grant will fund enhanced and innovative instructional strategies, increased student engagement, and develop family/community partnerships in the areas of mathematics, writing or STEM.

Student Opportunities:

  • Cacapon Institute Stream Scholars Summer Camp 2019: Explore rivers and watersheds while learning about science in a week of adventure. SSCC 2019 will take place from July 15th – 19th. Early Registration is due May 31st. Registration ends June 15th.
  • Heritage Museum & Village Makerspace: An introduction to heritage arts and skills for children ages 9-12, after school on Thursdays from February 8 to March 22 at The Heritage Farm Museum and Village. The makerspace is open to the public on Saturdays between May and December and for kids on Wednesdays between June and September.
  • WVU STEM Camp: 4-H members will participate in activities that introduce a wide range of STEM focused fields and careers. Past activities have included: visits to the WVU Planetarium, Science-In-Action on the WVU zip line canopy tour and rock climbing wall, forensic investigations, visits to WVU research labs, as well as experiments and activities that explore chemistry, energy, motion, electricity, magnesium, optics, and nanoscience.

Educator Opportunities:

  • Concord Consortium STEM Resource Finder: This link is a collection of the Concord Consortium's best resources for science, math, and engineering education. The curated collections offer lesson plans and units for your class based on these resources.
  • RCBI Raspberry Pi Meet-Up: The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) is hosting its monthly Raspberry Pi User Group meeting in its Maker Vault. Join RCBI Huntington (1050 Fourth Avenue) to explore different versions of the Pi hardware and software, and focus on popular uses of the small computers. For more information, email Jamie Cope, RCBI Deputy Director, at

  • WVU Community Leadership Academy: The Community Leadership Academy is an Annual training to help emerging and established leaders identify and build on their community's assets by taking advantage of development issues in West Virginia and surrounding regions. Online registration is open for the 2019 Community Leadership Academy.

  • WVU STEM Education Initiatives: K-12 STEM Education programs strive to implement creative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics projects in K-12 classrooms to help foster a healthy understanding of STEM fields among educators and school-age children. 
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Innovative Ideas

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Tool Review

Piper Computer Kit

The Piper Computer Kit comes with everything needed to assemble a computer, including a Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer, HD LCD display, a powerbank, a speaker, and a puzzle-like wooden case that is assembled and then houses the computer. The Piperconcept is great for kids to build, learn and create. Kids can build a working computer using a real engineering blueprint, rather than through step-by-step directions. Throughout the process they can learn engineering, programming and design thinking as well as through advancing through a Minecraft story.


Ultimaker 3D Printer

Ultimaker 3 recently created a new 3D Printer, this printer is said to work out of the box and the dual extrudes are excellent.The ability to print dissolvable filament makes cleaning the supports off your print make much easier. The Ultimaker 3 is a dual extrusion printer, which means it can print with two different materials. Other qualities of the Ultimaker 3 are: complete design freedom, reliable dual extrusion with water-soluble support, high uptime and fast changeovers with swappable print cores and cohesive 3D printing ecosystem and connectivity.


H800 3D Printer

Geo Knight & Co is a top-end, high-quality heat press machine for heat pressing t-shirts, caps, plates, mugs, tiles, and anything else that requires heat transfer printing. The Digital Combo multipurpose swing-away heat press comes standard with a 14"x16" heat plate and lower table. The interchangeability of the Digital Combo is performed quickly and safely. The Digital Combo press allows for pressing over 2" thick products. This solid and durable heat press machine is qualified to be used for professional and semi-professional jobs due to its temperature range of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It has an adjustable pressure which will helps choosing the suitable pressure for each item to print on to prevent burnt items. This specific product comes with a stopwatch which is used to control the time and temperature of the machine to prevent overexposure to heat by the items printed upon. There is also a large work surface area to enable transferring artworks to different ranges of flat surfaces. It has a silicone gel base which helps to increase the stability of heat press machine.


Virtual Reality Headsets

Virtual reality headsets and apps are designed for entertaining but are being used more for education. Virtual reality allows the user to be immersed into a virtual world, unlike regular screens in front of the user which don't allow such an experience. A virtual reality headset shows you an image, often with three-dimensional technology, and as soon as you move your head, it modifies the image. This is what gives students the feeling of really being present in the virtual world. While advanced VR systems can cost hundreds of dollars, there are a few systems out there on the market that are much cheaper, making this hands-on experience obtainable for all students. The Google Cardboard for instance, is the most advanced and inexpensive VR system available, and most VR apps are compatible with it. This VR system along with others have created specialized virtual reality systems for the education market that assist children with the STEM task in this hands-on world.


Vinyl Cutting

The vinyl cutter is a versatile tool for any Makerspace. There are numerous reviews available online that compare several models produced by the major brands, Graphtec, Roland, USCutter, etc. What is addressed in this review, for those already with cutters or those considering, is an understanding that the vinyl cutter is far more useful than just a sticker machine. While the ability to produce custom stickers, labels, wall-pieces, and iron-ons can be appreciated, the possibilities the tool provides in process work should not be overlooked. Majority of these applications use the vinyl cut product as a mask, stencil, or resist to protect a surface from a paint or chemical. Many vinyl cutters allow for the use of a fiber pen instead of a blade. This is what the machines were originally designed for, drawing blueprints quicker than a draftsman.


Printing: Dye Sublimation Heat Transfer

Dye Sublimation Heat Transfer Printers use special inks to create transfers designed to be imprinted on a substrate, also known as the base material like a mug, hat, or polyester t-shirt. A graphic software package like CorelDraw or Creative Studio is used to create something to be printed. The printer uses transfer paper to print CYMK colors (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black). A heat press is used to transfer the graphics to the substrate. A heat press uses a combination of time, temperature and pressure to transfer the sublimation dyes at the molecular level into the substrate. The most common dyes used for sublimation activate at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The end product is a nearly permanent, high resolution, full color print. Because the dyes are infused at the molecular level, the prints will not crack, fade or peel from the substrate under normal conditions. The inks/dyes used will vary depending on the substrate.


3D Printing Pens: Scribbler V3

3D printing pens are becoming increasingly popular for use in creating 3-dimensional figures. A 3D pen is similar to a pencil or pen however; it utilizes plastic rather than ink or lead. The Scribbler 3D Pen V3 is a top selling 3D pen that has been on the market for some time and is as an updated version of the Scribbler V2. This pen is very affordable compared to other 3D pens and can also be found on Amazon at a lower cost than the manufacturer. It is available in a variety of different colors and includes the pen itself, power cord, three loops of filament, and instructions great for novice learners. This pen is also very lightweight, at just 2.6 oz. As for filaments, the Scribbler 3D Pen V3 can use regular filaments of different colors and can easily be changed when desired.


Professional Vector Editing: 2D Design Software

Inkscape can be used for a variety of projects and is often used by novice learners. It is open source and free which means a motivated student can install it at home if he/she wishes to continue working outside the educational institution setting. This software has exceptional codecs for importing/exporting almost every 2D file type you're likely to need. It strikes the proper balance between offering all of the power we need without huge learning curves. It may even be used to create complex curves for import into 3D design software. However, one may want to avoid dimensioned engineering drawings using this platform.

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Maker Spotlight  

Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club

The FLUX Makerspace is designed to educate and stimulate kids' creativity. The Makerspace was funded by a $60,000 contribution from the locally based nonprofit Ross Foundation. The club's focus is on S.T.E.M. -science, technology, engineering and math - education. The equipment has been used to allow children hands-on projects to help them meet real-world needs. By connecting children to new career paths through technology, entrepreneurship, technical trade skills and digital design. The Makerspace includes 2-D designs, which covers paper drawing and crafts as well as computer-assisted design and laser cutting; 3-D engineering; electronics; music, coding, photography, videography, animation, and textiles.


John Marshall High School

In fall 2017, Fall John Marshall High School opened West Virginia's first FabLab. This hands-on digital fabrication laboratory provides students with a collaborative workspace where they can create innovative products using tools and materials such as: 3-D printers, laser cutters, design software and ShopBot CNC routers. With the help of Chevron, John Marshall High School learned about the FabLab network and connected with other schools. The high school's new FabLab is part of the Appalachia Partnership Initiative's (API) efforts to generate more STEM education opportunities for K-12 students in the region. John Marshall High School's goal is to continue to bridge the world of science and humanities to create positive social and community change and preparing students for the workforce.


St. Joseph Catholic School

In the spring of 2017, St. Joseph Catholic School launched its XSTR2EAM Center. The facility provides students with a rigorous and highly collaborative, interactive learning environment that is technologically rich and provides extensive means to communicate in a diverse and global setting.  Students learn to develop their 21st Century skills while immersed in a diverse cross-curricular curriculum. St. Joseph Catholic School also launched their newest technology in education the zSpace. Pre-school through 8th grade will experience a revolutionary and inspiring way to explore learning through a hands-on 3D experience.  Focusing on STEM education and consisting of over 2,500 units, zSpace brings to life in a dynamic and engaging way to teach students concepts in physical science, chemistry, physics, social sciences, mathematics, engineering and the arts.


Edison Middle School

The Makerspace at Edison Middle School is truly a testament to how technology has developed over the past 10 years. It started as an industrial arts workshop that has been upgraded and adapted to meet the standards of today's technology. This Makerspace has everything from simple woodworking tools to complex computer programs and 3D printers. The main goal of the space is to allow students to utilize their creativity and bring their ideas to life. Recently students had two major projects that allowed them to take ownership of their creativity and make it a reality. The one project was creating new corn hole boards for the school's physical education program. The other project was building garden beds for the Edison Community garden. Both of these projects showed how students can take on leadership roles and become engaged in different learning experiences. Both projects required students to develop a plan, take accurate measurements, understand the types of materials they are working with, think outside of the box; and practice safety precautions required of working in a Makerspace.     


South Middle School

South Middle School in Morgantown began developing and implementing its Makerspace in 2015. Located near the art and technology education classrooms, teachers are able to take their students to present them with a hands-on challenge that often connects STEAM skills with the core curriculum. The Makerspace provides kits such as Makey Makey and Makeblock robots to help students understand computer circuits and programming. It helps teach the skills of programming and circuit interface. The Makeblock robot can be programmed using Scratch for skills such as line following and obstacle avoidance tasks. These devices give students an introduction to the skills it takes for the occupation of a programmer or robotics. The Makerspace has challenged the faculty to implement projects that are low cost and help repurpose disposable items. Students move from concluding that tasks are "impossible" to an attitude of "what's possible?"