3D Community Study


The makerspace movement has grown popular in recent years and now commonly features in various forms in academic institutions across the country. Despite the growing importance placed on makerspace, there have been limited studies exploring the practices within the community. I studied a 3D printing lab in Virginia Tech’s Newman Library. I looked at the operational practices involved in running the 3D printing lab and studied the community. I used observations from participant shadowing and semi-structured interviews in this study. The results point to practices that hint on a community of practice with a heavy dependence on a single leader. The findings suggest opportunities and interventions that could be implemented to foster a strong community of makers such as supporting peripheral participation and involving students in planning and negotiating for space.

Design Methods:

Interviews, Participant observation, Shadowing

The making of a making community