On Wednesday 17 October the University of Granada launched its new Laboratory for Manufacturing and Prototyping (MakerSpaceUGR), a pioneering and collaborative work space that will enable students, staff and the public to design and produce products and pieces of architecture.
The laboratory, housed at the School of Architecture, features state-of-the-art equipment, including a laser cutter and engraver; 3D printers; a high-precision CNC lathe and milling machine; a large format CNC milling machine; a cutting plotter; a vacuum press; a high-precision 3D scanner; a sublimation machine; an airbrush kit; as well as special design software and electronic hardware tools.
The Director of MakerSpaceUGR, Francisco Javier Fernández, points out that, just as with computers, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines have been adapted to every kind of task, use and economy. “Currently it’s easy and inexpensive to develop a prototype of anything so that—once it has been adjusted and tested—it can be manufactured bit by bit and then assembled in your garage or at home, or even on the end user’s property. This is possible because the design and exact specifications of objects are available through digital archives and because computers and machines share the same language”. He adds that nowadays the processes used in DIY and in the manufacture of consumer products are the same; to the extent that it is now said that manufacturing has been “democratised”.
The overall goal of the laboratory is to support and incentivise the use of creative processes associated with contemporary manufacturing tools. However, for new manufacturing technologies to become a transversal element of education at the UGR, the teaching and research provided by MakerSpaceUGR is of fundamental importance. For this reason, the lab has been conceived as an open, multidisciplinary, and inspirational space that will serve to generate new experiences and knowledge.
The opening ceremony of MakerSpaceUGR was presided over by the Rector of the UGR, Pilar Aranda, and the Director of the School of Architecture, José María Manzano. Those in attendance were taken on a guided tour of the new lab and the installations by Francisco Javier Fernández, Director of MakerSpaceUGR.
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