What’s the Big Idea?


A makerspace is what it sounds like, a space to create and make…well, just about anything! At the Big Idea, 3D printers, a fully-stocked woodshop, laser printers, and more combine to create a space to design, create, and develop any variety of projects and more! By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by Pop’s Truck and RV Center and The Big Idea at San Juan College

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3D printers can create super unique and fun prints. Laser cut fine line design on a variety of surfaces and who doesn't like a fancy finish to a wooden coffee table? Unfortunately, machines like these can cost a pretty penny, but The Big Idea at San Juan college alleviates the financial burden of pursuing a creative dream in their makerspace, an area designed for precisely for creating. You're watching the Local NEWS Network brought to you by Pop's Truck and RV Center and The Big Idea at San Juan college. I'm Hailey Opsahl.

Makerspace is a place where you have various machines and tools, it's a hands-on environment. People come together, they have creative minds and you just kind of sit down. You do brainstorming, you come up with ideas, things to create. Here when you look at makerspaces, our makerspace is much larger. We have a lot more equipment than most makerspaces, even in the large cities, so there's all kinds of cool things you can do here from our large format printer to the laser engraver. That's our two biggest items, but we have a full wood shop, metal shop on the other side, plasma cutters, we have a CNC router, so just different things. You can sit down and create to make things from.

Students at San Juan college have the opportunity to use the makerspace to create projects as part of class assignments, or simply because they wanted to try something new. Hayes wants to spread the word about the makerspace to encourage the community at large to come in and at least visit the space. One of his goals is to make the makerspace just as much of a community space as it is a student space.

Oh, this makerspace is like most makerspaces. They are geared towards community. Ours is geared towards community as well. We also serve with a small business incubator, so if you have an idea for a business and you're not sure where to go with it, you're not sure how to get it off the ground, where to start, you need to do a prototype. We have 3D printers here. I used to teach engineering for a lot of years and that's what we did, we designed things. We did prototyping. I had a manufacturing enterprise class where the students would do prototyping. They would actually go all the way to production. We'd actually make things and sell them sometimes, so we just have a little bit of everything here in respects to that.

Even if you've never been in a makerspace before or used a printer to print out anything fancier than holiday cards, Hayes and his team at the makerspace are happy to help you learn how to use any of the tools. The wood shop space is open to all, regardless of experience level, and you can arrange for tours to learn new skills. Although the makerspace originally opened in 2020, only in the last couple of months has the space been open to the public beyond San Juan college and it is capitalizing on that opportunity.

We set up demonstrations throughout the summer. This is our third demonstration. We're going to do 10 in total, so we started July 2nd. We're running through September 2nd, so the weekend before Labor Day. There's going to be 10 in total. Next week, we will be doing 3D printers. The week after we're going to be in the wood shop and want to show people about the wood shop equip that we have, the table saw, band saw, joiner, things of that nature. And then we'll be back on this side where we do more with the large, foreign printer. We're doing each demonstration, we're going to be five demonstration with each one twice, but the demonstrations are always different.

The program also offers kids camps that teach children some of the basics of the machines, whether it's 3D printing a fidget spinner or putting together different components to create a simple drone. Hayes stressed the importance of teaching children how to use some of the different machines and programs to help them figure out what their futures holds. Plus the fidget spinners or vinyl stickers are a bonus.

We're here for the community, we're here to help for whatever your project is, whatever your idea is, your design is.

Operating hours for The Big Idea at San Juan College are 9:00 A%M to 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Friday. Visit the website at SanJuanCollege.edu/TheBigIdea to inquire about tours, see what workshops are coming up next, and to learn more. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local NEWS Network. I'm Hailey Opsahl.


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