3D printers, saws, drills, oscilloscopes, multimeters and waveform generators are just a few of the tools available at the Interdisciplinary Design Commons (IDC) for no or little cost. In addition to equipment, the IDC is also home to The Hive, a completely student-run and volunteer-based organization that works out of the makerspace to help students with any project – both academic and personal.
In celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of The Hive, the Technique chatted with Hiba Moraley, a 2nd-year ECE Master student who cofounded the organization back in 2016.
“Our purpose is to provide hands-on learning to all Georgia Tech students, regardless of their major or technical background or anything like that,” Moraley said. “We really want to provide a space where anyone can just walk in and say, ‘Hey, I really want to build something. Can you guys help me with this?’”
As part of The Hive’s vision, there are approximately 140 volunteers that serve as Peer Instructors (PIs) to assist the users who walk in asking for help. These PIs serve as experts in their technical fields — fields which include Laser Cutting, Embedded Systems, Machine Shop (wood & metal-working) and PCB Fabrication.
Second-year CS major Abhay Cashikar works as the Master Peer Instructor for Embedded Systems. He described his position as helping users with the logistics of their projects, explaining how many students struggle to unite the technical aspect of their input with the tangible result of their output.
Cashikar spoke about the different reasons which bring users into The Hive, as well his personal reasons to utilize the makerspace.
“There are people who come in for labs, and there are also people who come in for personal projects, like trying to work on a prototype for some business idea. For the past week, I have been working on trying to move these mounting holes on my bike by making a CAD model and 3D printing it. That’s been a struggle, I’m on [revision] four,” he laughed.
In addition to providing equipment and expertise, The Hive also offers free workshops throughout the year in which participants can take home their projects. Previous workshops have included collaborating with HackGT, creating electronic sculptures, or even soldering for a Valentine.
Second-year BME Mary Kate Gale shared her thoughts about attending her first ever workshop this past Valentine’s Day.
“Going into this workshop, I had never soldered before,” said Gale. “I had signed up on a whim — it’s unlike me to jump into new things like that, but I’m very glad I did. The workshop itself was fascinating. I feel like I don’t get to do hands-on tasks and projects very much anymore — since middle school, education has been about the conveyance of information rather than creation, for the most part. This was a refreshing way to build something again!”
For both experienced builders and hopeful candidates, The Hive offers the opportunity to turn ideas into projects: to walk in with a question and to leave with a creation.
The first workshop will be held on Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.