MILL makerspace looks forward with expansion

The idea for the MILL originated in 2015 and over time, it has increased operations and gained staff. The MILL hopes to expand their space, but faces a lack of funding. // Photo by Alex Dube Student Publications

As a Tech makerspace looks to develop into a global leader, the only thing halting progress currently is the lack of funding.

The Materials Innovation and Learning Laboratory (MILL) is one of five major makerspaces present at Tech open for all students to utilize. The MILL currently occupies room 176 along with other portions of the first floor of the J. Erskine Love Jr. Manufacturing (Love) Building.

Consisting of three distinct groups, characterization, measurement and processing, the following space has a wide array of tools. They have microscopes that can magnify up to 100,000x and measure features in the nanometers. The MILL also prides itself on a variety of 3D printers that can print in a variety of materials from conductive polymers to carbon fiber.
At the 2021 State of the MILL event that took place at the beginning of March, the current board highlighted the past, present and future of the MILL.

The idea for the MILL began in fall of 2015, but it was not until 2016 that the makerspace was remodeled and began to acquire equipment and staff. Now in 2021, with a full executive board and increased operations from its starting days, the MILL is looking to the future.

The MILL makerspace is located in Love 176 and offers a wide array of tools for students to use. // Photo by Alex Dube Student Publications

Currently, the MILL serves as a hub for experiential education, especially in the field of Materials Science and Engineering. By providing hands-on training and access to generally expensive equipment — such as the SEM they recently purchased for $152,500 — they foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

“The ultimate goal of expanding though is to become the global leader in experiential, materials education. And I think there’s no better place than Georgia Tech to accomplish that goal,” said the current CEO of the MILL, Jamie Petrie, MSE ‘21.

The largest revelation presented at the 2021 State of the MILL was the future renovations slated for the lab, adequately named MILL 2.0. Constrained by the lack of space the MILL currently has, the fact that it is currently a collection of smaller lab spaces is becoming more apparent by the day.

Utilizing the space they have been slowly accumulating across the first floor of the Love building, their full renovation will provide an open-concept maker space comparable to the Invention Studio.

The reconstruction of the space will increase the area for fabrication, measurement and characterization of materials while introducing nano-fabrication and wet chemistry capabilities.

Currently, the only thing preventing progress on MILL 2.0 is the makerspace’s funding — or lack thereof.

Open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays, the MILL welcomes all Jackets and is willing to provide assistance with projects at Love 176.

For more information on the space or COVID-19 procedures, visit mill.mse.gatech.edu.