Douglas College Maker Lab opens at River Market

River Market's Douglas College Maker Lab. Image by Lauren Kelly
River Market’s Douglas College Maker Lab. Image by Lauren Kelly

Will offer free innovation workshops as it bridges the college and community

By Lauren Kelly, News Editor

New Westminster’s River Market has a new tenant: the Douglas College Maker Lab. Located on the second floor with a full view of the Vancouver Circus School, the lab, which is a makerspace, bridges the college with the community to share in curiosity and a love of technology.

David Wright, the coordinator of research and innovation at Douglas College, is excited with their location in the River Market: “It is a really good opportunity to collaborate with the community […] and establish a presence in the community for the college.”

The Maker Lab currently has three 3-D printers of varying scale and complexity, a 3-D scanner, and a drone. Wright says that “The idea is to get one of everything, and then people can come down and, either at a workshop or otherwise, play with the materials and see what they can do.”

Because the lab has a range of printers, people of all experience levels can learn and interact with the medium. To use the most user-friendly 3-D printer on site, the MakerBot, all one has to do is download a plan from the website, put the file on a USB, and plug that into the printer.

As the length of each printing project can vary between 45 minutes for very small pieces and nearly 20 hours for large and complex ones, it’s currently difficult to book appointments for printing.

The lab will also be hosting free Innovation workshops every second Tuesday starting on May 12 that will run from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Each event will have a theme, with the first being multi-modality and infographics, where people will learn how to create infographics and convey information through imagery. The second will have the theme 3-D printing and take place on May 26. There will be pre-registration for people who are interested, and each session will hold around 25 people.

For students who wish to drop in during the summer, a staff member is likely to be in the lab Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Once the Fall semester starts, it will be staffed Monday–Friday during the same time period.

“We’re trying to let it evolve the way it wants to evolve,” Wright said. “We’ll try to figure out what people want to use it for and we’ll see what we can do to accommodate that.”