LCC Make Space Director Updates Rotary on Computer Technology

Misenheiser Displays Maker Stitchwork



You start with a block of plastic, add some software programming, put it into a laser cutter machine and out pops a functioning monkey wrench, cut from the plastic block. That’s a simplification of an involved process, but taken down to basic elements, that’s a part of what’s offered from the Innovative Make Spaces program available at Lamar Community College.

Addressing Rotary’s Weekly Meeting

Laura Misenheimer, now in her second year managing the program from the Betz Technology Center said she wanted a place where people could bounce ideas off each other and enjoy a creative process. “The ‘Innovate and Make Space’ program is designed to leverage tools, technology and ideas to help people grow jobs in a community,” she explained this past Thursday, August 30th.

Computerized Etcher Create a Component Part

Guiding ten computer/machine certified instructors at the college, Misenheimer explained that it’s not a mass production facility, but a center where you can prototype your ideas using materials to create product that could eventually be mass produced from a manufacturer. At LCC, you’re being given the basic tools to develop the software and a marketable product.

Computer Generated Key Rings

Most of the materials used are wood and plastic and what isn’t available locally can be gotten from a supplier such as Amazon. Misenheimer displayed other creations to the Rotary members including cloth patterns using industrial sewing machinery, vinyl cutters, a plasma cutter and laser cutter that will etch away the un-needed material until the worker has their finished product which ranges from simple keychains to a hollow chess board and intricately designed chess pieces, all from following a sample software code or from one the student can create on their own from an idea. “You could even create items such as combs or using durable materials produce sole supports used in the bottom of shoes,” she said.

Future plans call for a six week program working with K-12 grade students and one for 1st through 8th grades to develop creativity and problem solving using the maker equipment.  “We’re planning an open house towards the end of September where the public can come and view our activities.  We’d also like to develop a facebook site so people can start to advertise their products for sale.  There’s a market for a lot of personalized materials including aluminum and glass etchings, which we already do.”

Misenhauer said an applicant can become machine certified in about an hour for $20 and afterwards it’s only $5 per visit. Laser cutter training runs just a little more in time, two hours of training for $40. “There’s always support staff on hand, we just don’t leave you alone if you need some assistance.”  She said future plans involve a trip to Denver for “Start Up Week”, “It’s the largest entrepreneurial gathering in the country.  It’s free and there are a lot of presenters coming with their ideas.  This year’s theme is, ‘Keep It Rural’, which will help represent Lamar and the college.”  Additional information on the maker-space program is available from the LCC main webpage.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEducationEmploymentSchoolThe ArtsYouth


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