Making a Makerspace: Case Western’s think[box] and its great playbook

Education Workshop
Making a Makerspace: Case Western’s think[box] and its great playbook

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We’ve known Ian Charnas as part of a team that built the wonderfully whimsical Waterfall Swing, which you may have seen at Maker Faire, on “The Today Show”, or on the roof of a museum in Linz, Austria.

But Ian’s day job is welcoming about 3,000 visitors a month to through the doors of think[box] at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. At MakerCon today, he shared some of the strategies he uses as the manager of this makerspace that is free and open to members of the community: not just the faculty, students, and staff of Case Western, but everyone who needs to make in greater Cleveland. Wow!

How can this space run with only two full-time staff and a team of students? It’s not some kind of special Ohio mojo that makes this miracle happen. Ian has built up a rich stash of tutorials and posters and other systems to make think[box] “self-service”, and he shared these in the talk, linked above, and on the site

Anyone starting or running a makerspace will want to check these out.

We have some resources at, too. But if you have anything else useful you use in your makerspace, send it on over so we can share it with Ian and other makerspaces, and get it out there to others who are just starting out or, like Ian, want to make their spaces run more efficiently (all in the name of leaving more time for making!)

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Michelle, or Binka, makes . While at Maker Media, she oversaw publications, outreach, and programming for kids, families, and schools. Before joining Maker Media in 2007, she worked at the Exploratorium, in Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, and as a curriculum designer for various publishers and educational researchers. When she’s not supporting future makers, including her two young sons, Binka does some making of her own, most often as a visual artist.

View more articles by Michelle "Binka" Hlubinka


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