The Construct @ RIT: Making Your Dreams a Reality
by Erica Karen Butler | published Dec. 3rd, 2014
Instead of hiding away in the crowded space of their dorm rooms trying to work on projects, RIT student Jascha Wilcox, a fifth year Biomedical Engineering student,and former RIT student Adam Munich created The Construct @ RIT: a new lab space where any student of any background can come and work on projects. The Construct was joint funded by President Destler and donor Dutch Summers; it relies solely on generous sponsors, is independent of a department and is completely student-run. Lab managers and senior student members that are trained and experienced with the machines have 24/7 access. The designated hours for the lab are from 10:00am to 6:00pm on weekdays. However, due to the variability and flexibility in the hours of operation and because senior members are constantly in and out of the lab, a good way to know for certain whether or not the lab is available is by checking The Construct @ RIT labcam. When the door is open, that means the lab is free for anyone to work.
The lab space is open to staff, faculty, alumni and students to complete various projects in the multi-disciplinary space, with the goal of making dreams become reality. The Construct covers as much ground as possible in one location while trying to minimize overlap with the tools and machines already available in department labs on campus to which students can readily gain access.
In one section of the makerspace, there is a food-safe and general work area equipped with a 3-D scanner and 3-D printer. The 3-D printer, which is still the novel object of the machine world, is utilized the most in the lab; each RIT student is allotted 500 grams of printing material per semester. In another section of the lab, there is access to electronic component supply, soldering equipment and a printed circuit board. The third section requires safety glasses at all times as it contains the machine shop and full-spectrum laser cutter, which is the second most utilized machine. This high-tech device can cut clear acrylic, paper, plywood and birch wood, cardboard and low-density fiberboard. The newest apparatus at The Construct is a router table that has a 5-by-5-foot working area and can cut large sheets like plastic, wood or foam.
Individuals who work at The Construct believe in safety and the importance of training those who may lack experience with tools and machines. For machines with a higher learning curve, the lab managers and student senior members make sure that those who lack experience are given the proper training to become proficient and to eventually operate the machines independently.
Since it is one of the newest labs on campus, The Construct is still in development, but is already propelling forward at an exponential rate with innovation in mind.
“The goal is student projects. There are students that come to RIT and are interested in doing personal projects, and a lot of those people set up shop in their dorm room. This is a space that is designed to bring those people to a centralized location.”
–Jascha Wilcox, co-founder