Situated inside Rice’s Moody Center for the Arts is a state-of-the-art makerspace with incredible facilities. If you’re someone just getting into design and fabrication or you’re an experienced maker, this place has the resources you need to get the job done. I only discovered what a hidden gem the makerspace was when I was biking from West Lot one afternoon, deciding on a whim to see what the Moody Center looked like on the inside. I’d originally thought the Moody Center was only a venue where students could display their art and also a place where students could learn about it, but never realized it was a place where you could create art as well.
The Moody Center’s makerspace has three sections: a rapid prototyping lab, a wood shop, and a machine shop. Rob Purvis, the makerspace director, gave me a detailed tour of the facility when I first visited. Outfitted with all the newest gear, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. There were 3D printers, a giant CNC router (for wood), and even a Tormach 1100 CNC mill (for metal). Click here for a detailed list of the makerspace equipment.
The best part of the makerspace lies in the accessibility of the space and what it can be used for. The Moody Center emphasizes that the makerspace is designated for personal projects, meaning you aren’t required to work on a project with a club/organization to use the equipment. Any project that expresses student creativity is permitted there. For example, I’ve been working on building a remote-controlled electric longboard in my free time, and the makerspace has provided the environment and resources for me to make steady progress.
The Moody Center also ensures that students are well equipped to effectively use the makerspace. Rob teaches fabrication shops most weekends to help students become familiarized with the facility’s resources. For example, students took part in a three-weekend course last semester and built a magnetic bottle cap opener using wood shop tools and techniques they’d learned.
The Moody Center is a space where engineering and art intersect. With all of the incredible resources at your disposal, it wouldn’t do the space justice if you didn’t use it. For students looking to get hands-on experience in design and fabrication, it’s a must-see!