The Longhorn Maker Studio had its official grand opening Monday afternoon, welcoming all students and faculty in the Cockrell School
According to mechanical engineering professor Desiderio Kovar, the studio has unofficially been open since Sept. 2 and has since been a place where students can come in and work on school projects or create prototypes for personal inventions.
“This is really a pilot,” Kovar said. “We are going to try out a whole lot of ideas here. Our plan is ultimately to move this [studio] to the new [Engineering Education and Research Center] building and hopefully will be the center piece of the building. We’re trying out new ideas and seeing what works.”
Studio manager Steve Ferraro said the new studio is an innovative center that gives students the opportunity to enjoy themselves.
“In the process of doing that, [students] can learn about some of the state-of-the-art technology available to them at no cost,” Ferraro said. “I’ve seen a lot of innovative ideas come out of the 3-D printers. Any student will tell you that this is an awesome place to have available for them to do work.”
Kovar said he wanted to emphasize the creative aspect of the studio.
Because of the new amenity, faculty members in the engineering school can come up with new ideas or projects for their students that could not have been done before the studio’s establishment.
“Funding came from the Cockrell School of Engineering and the mechanical engineering department,” Kovar said. “Cockrell paid for the renovations of the space as well as the salary of the staff and student employees. Corporate donations from the mechanical engineering department funded the purchase of the equipment.”
Mechanical engineering freshman Mackenzie Love said the studio will provide access to equipment that will allow them to work on both school and personal projects.
“It’s great; it’s one of the only places where you can walk in without having any of your own material and build whatever you like to,” Love said. “I’ve primarily worked with the 3-D printers; the 3-D printers are breaking barriers to access, which I could not individually afford.”
Visiting the studio for the first time, biomedical engineering senior Mishaal Rahman said there was a lot of space for students to work, and the equipment was organized and positioned well.
“I think I’m going to use it for personal projects,” Rahamm said. “Most engineering departments have their own 3-D printers, but, for personal projects, I’ll come here.”