Makerspace opens for business; Passes available to use City College’s new design lab

Makerspace room 108 contains a large printer for printing posters, and a staff member to greet newcomers April 9. Photo by Amari Smith |

Amari Smith
Staff Reporter

Once a campus print shop and computer lab, rooms 108 and 110 of the Cosmetology building are now home to the 2,600-square-foot Makerspace.

Opened to the public April 10, Makerspace offers software training, digital multimedia, ink printing and much more, according to operations director Matt Vandiver.

Students can experiment with video making, printing and coding, making the possibilities endless, Vandiver said. Students can learn new things for class requirements or go over the basics to progress toward being self-taught.

“As far as our training programs go, they’re not the traditional six-to-eight-week course,” said Vandiver. “It’s a two-hour training session, then you come in and actually start using equipment. At that point you can create what you want.”

Colorful walls, staff artwork and the hum of equipment welcome students the moment they enter the space. Broken into two spaces, Room 108’s first space focuses on shop fabricating and creating structured art by assembling with tools, while the second space is the digital design lab. The remaining space is occupied with employee-operated equipment. Room 110 is open for workshops where the staff will give training seminars along with class-like lessons, Vandiver said.

“I’m looking forward to having a collaborative space where students can come and share skills, organically working as a collaborative space, where you don’t have to try to get skills that you don’t have,” said Michelle Zamora, Makerspace creative director. “People are just here who have those skills you might need.”

There are 20 staff members available in and out of the building at various times of the day to help, said Vandiver. The staff often gives tours of the building to give an inside look of the space available.

Vandiver was hired by Tom Cappelletti, project director of Makerspace, to help bring the program to life. According to a City College press release there were 40 people, both staff and students, who originally discussed the idea of Makerspace, Jan 27, 2017.

“We want to find a way to make (Makerspace) for every department and every aspect of this campus,” said Vandiver.

Students can use the technology provided to laser-etch words and graphics onto bags, mosaic tiles and various surfaces like glass, ceramic and leather.

When it comes to Makerspace, there isn’t much students aren’t allowed to do, according to Vandiver.

“We do have some limitations, but not very many. One of our limitations is that if you’re doing it for entrepreneurial, monetary gain or mass production, we do come with a set price, but we’re trying to keep it at low to no cost for students,” said Vandiver. “This is not a place where students have to pay $350 for a membership. We want this to be a safe place for everybody.”

Vandiver said that Makerspace is not intended for private, profit-based endeavors. The money made from paid projects helps fund more possibilities for students, according to Vandiver.

Makerspace employees are currently working with the Business Education Technology Alliance (BETA) to keep the equipment up to date, Vandiver said. Makerspace is open to all students in the Los Rios Community College District as well as to employees.

To gain access, students sign up for a shop pass online. With the shop pass, students can choose between working with a specific piece of technology or work with and learn everything, Vandiver said.

To receive a shop pass, students can go to the Makerspace website for more information on shop pass requirements and what programs are available. Students must turn in a signed release form for safety and liability reasons.

Staff are available in Room 110 in the Cosmetology building every Tuesday and Thursday from noon–2 p.m. and from 2–4 p.m. to help sign students up for shop passes.

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