Courtesy of Cornell University

MannUFactory has a wide variety of resources available to students, including 3-D printing.

January 29, 2019

MannUfacturing Fun With 3-D Printing and Virtual Reality

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MannUfactory, the student resource hub in Mann Library, hoped to become a creative outlet for Cornellians. However, it has struggled to attract numbers since its opening last fall.

MannUfactory is a “makerspace” with various resources that encourages “cross-discipline collaboration, experimentation, and learning,” according to its website. Resources include 3D printing, button pins, sewing and virtual reality headsets.

“There was a clear need for an intro-level space where anyone can come in to learn and experiment with things, no matter what department or college they are in,” Camille Andrews, Emerging Literacies Librarian and MannUfactory staff member, told The Sun.

To raise awareness of the space this year, Andrews said she reached out to student groups on campus and spoke at first-year and transfer student orientations to inform them of the resources at the learning space.

However, Andrews said outreach efforts so far have not been “as successful” as she had hoped.

“We still need to get the words out. [There are] so many resources that are available on the Cornell campus, [but] raising awareness of them is difficult,” she said.

According to Andrews, the makerspace also holds regular workshops on varying topics, like the “Knitting Sprints” workshop. However, these workshops tend to have low registration numbers and even lower turnout.

“I think knowing when and where to best do these workshops can be challenging,” she said.

In spite of the challenges, the Mann makerspace has had a number of successes. 3D printing has been “extraordinarily popular,” and the machine is “constantly running,” Andrews said. Course-related instruction has also been in high demand, she added.

According to Andrews, the makerspace works with various instructors to launch workshops that enhance student learning. MannUFactory staff are currently collaborating with COMM 1300: Visual Communication to help students create their final projects and work with virtual reality, a new endeavor backed by a grant from the Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell.

“Whatever it is that you have in mind to create or do, come try us and see,” Andrews said. “We are a friendly and lowkey place where you can learn the basics of something, play around and destress.”