Bio-Inspired Maker Space Opens in Kendeda Building

EcoMake logo paired with image of the signage in the entrance to the new maker space.

At first glance, the new maker space opening in the Kendeda Living Building for Innovative Sustainable Design might look like many others. However, the space, named EcoMake, has some important differences. Because it is housed in the Kendeda Building, there are strict standards for what types of materials and equipment can be used there in order to maintain its Living Building Certification. For example, you will find several 3-D printers there, like almost all maker spaces, but the plastic filament used in them is made from recycled plastic, perhaps recycled on-site with equipment in the lab itself.

Some might regard such restrictions as too limiting to their creativity or design goals. Viewed another way, this approach opens up a unique set of possibilities. Biologically Inspired and Green Design (BIG-D) is a field of study (sometimes referred to by different names, like “biomimicry”) that has demonstrated a lot of promise in the past few decades. This approach aims to translate the billions of years of knowledge and design wisdom embodied in our biological world into innovative green products. However, no matter how green the design of a product, they are often manufactured with traditional processes with limited consideration for energy, toxicity, water, or material use. Having a lab like EcoMake will help to usher in the field of study of Biologically Inspired and Green Manufacturing (BIG-M). BIG-M will require knowledge, equipment, and resources that are much different than traditional fabrication methods. Like natural systems, this new facility will operate within the means of nature, using no more energy or water than can be generated from its geometric footprint, and producing no more waste than it can assimilate on site.

EcoMake has the following tools and equipment (so far):

  • 8 - Prusa I3S+ 3-D Printers
  • 5 - Ender 3 Pro 3-D Printers
  • EinScan-SP 3-D Object Scanner
  • Mark-10 ESM303 Mechanical Tester
  • 300-X Digital Microscope
  • 3Devo Filament Extruder
  • Shini SG-16N Plastic Granulator
  • Plastic Chip Dryer
  • Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine
  • Complement of Standard Fabric Crafting Equipment

EcoMake, the bio-inspired maker space will be open to students from all disciplines. It is supported by the Colleges of Design, Engineering, and Biology, and the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems. Contact Michael Gamble for more information.

News Contact

Brent Verrill, Research Communications Program Manager, BBISS