Space…there are all sorts of “spaces”.
“MakerSpace” is more than one room - The whole campus can be the MakerSpace.
You can never have “too much” space.
Someone asked me what size would I like for my Science classroom.
I answered “full size basketball court, even a gym”.
We need the room to spread out. We need room to test projects, let alone store them.
Everybody’s “space” is different. Everybody’s purpose is different. There is no "one" right solution k-12...maybe not even "one" solution in your building.
I can give you some ideas to think about. If you want someone to talk through your ideas with, contact me.
So you have a room or two for a MakerSpace (every room can be).
The size of a room is kind of a limiting factor on what you can do, what you can have in it, as well as how many students can safely work in it. You need lots of storage space for materials and projects. You need work space for students. I like flexible/movable stuff. There are many places to shop from - do lots of browsing.
You need at least one good size sink.
An eyewash station & shower for safety would be good.
You need lots of electrical outlets, on different breakers. Know which breakers and their value and use that as a lesson for students (what can and cannot be plugged in at the same time). Some people put the outlets in the floor, some drop them from the ceiling. Either of these is nice to get power to the middle of the room. Power around the outside is also needed.
The walls and doors can be used for plotting & planning, so make them whiteboard or chalkboard surfaces of some kind. Even the windows can be used for this. Maybe some portable boards (some options form Uline , Webstaurant ). You can build your own, Z-racks/garment racks work nicely for these. They come in various sizes. Combine with white bathroom paneling. Also think student size (24”x32” - cut white bathroom paneling into 6 pieces, round off the corners).
You need work tables with an awesome surface. I am partial to butcher block, though some prefer the traditional science lab surface and some like white writeable. Have tables that are adjustable height/various heights. Some kids will prefer to stand. I like rectangular AND round. Get a variety. Tables should be easy to move for 1 or 2 people, think locking casters. You might want to embed/mount a power strip on the tables. I also like a traditional work bench, made from 2x4’s. We had one that we used for the messy work, like painting and gluing.
Please don’t put your tables in rows.
There are many places to look for tables (makerspace furniture in general).
ULINE ; Global Industrial ; DEMCO ; Smith System ; Arctobell ; Formaspace ; CEF
Think LOCAL , SHOP WISELY
You might even look at hand crank adjustable frames and get the top separately (hardwood plywood or butcher block). Amazon has a variety, or the StandUp Desk Store. Think outside the box and look at Restaurant Stores (especially for some high rounds)
Have a variety of seating, some rolling & adjustable height. Maybe have some chairs that don’t roll but are at various heights (think bar stools) . Some have tractor seats (but take the back off , it will just break). But have COMFORTABLE seating, not cheap plastic or metal. Even rolling stools work well (though replacing casters helps). Maybe it could be a student project to design & build seats.
You need space to showcase student work. This is one way that “outside the room” can help, and you would want to show stuff off around the campus. How can you get the masterpieces out and about? Repurpose some trophy cases? Cover up blank walls? Foster curiosity, creativity & innovation around campus.
If your room is too small to bring many students in it, you might need to go mobile. Get the tools and materials on carts and take them to the makers. Do a google image search for “mobile makerspace carts” for tons of examples. Some are open, like an A/V or utility cart, some have shelves, some have drawers, some lock…whatever works for YOU. You could build your own… Remember to think outside of the box and look at other “industries” … like “rolling tool carts”. Just because it is called a “tool cart” does not mean it HAS to have wrenches and sockets and saws in it (though that would be cool). You could even do mobile shelves, they come in various sizes. Again…think other industries, like restaurants (baking racks come in various sizes).
Pay attention to door widths/heights and width/height of carts. Pay attention to the quality of wheels/casters. If you have tile floor with grout lines, it could be a bumpy trip.
You need lots of it for tools, materials and in progress projects. Some tables have built in storage. Those mobile examples are also what you need to think about for in room storage. You want to be mobile and flexible. You don’t want to cover your wall spaces completely with permanent cabinets and shelves. Though you might want some stationary items. You might want counter space, you might not. Think flexible/adjustable because your space will evolve.
Storage is the issue that affects everyone, but differently.
You want lots of clear bins/totes with labels. Labels should be words AND pictures
Labels could be a nice place to incorporate world languages.
You have to find the right storage solution for the material & tool at hand.
I have used items from Dollar Tree, Michaels (craft store), Lowes, Target, Walmart, Harbor Freight…different shapes and sizes.
Iris , Rubbermaid , Sterlite and Hefty are brands with a variety of sizes. Amazon, Walmart & Target are also good places to look for these. Walmart usually has a ~$1 shoebox size tote. Lowes/Home Depot often have large totes with flip top lids good for larger things.
Akro-Mils has a line of small parts storage bins. Some are stackable or hangable on a panel or even rolling rack. Sometimes rolling shelves come with bins. There are places for storage that you might not think of. The fishing department is one for parts storage, so is the tool department. Tackle boxes and tool organizers are great for robotics parts (Harbor Freight/Lowes/Home Depot).
Kitchen storage ideas work well also. Some people reuse bulk food containers, like animal crackers. Obviously peanut butter or nuts might be an allergy issue..but how about large jelly containers?
Of course you will have a bunch of craft materials, so getting some storage from a craft store is part of your shopping. But I try to only buy them on sale. This photo storage box has been great for circuits or robotics parts…but not for $40. Pencil boxes are a good size.
Remember to look at the “Dollar Store” (okay, Dollar Tree is now $1.25). Sometimes open baskets are better (local stock always varies)
Summary : you will have bunch of different storage containers in many different sizes and shapes from a bunch of different places
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