Welcome to the Makerspace!

I’m pleased to announce that the new campus Makerspace is temporarily moving in with us in the Media Lab in Art 211. For news and information about the Media Lab and the Makerspace, please follow us on the makerspace blog.



If you missed the fantastic exhibit of video games and computer-based art that the Media Lab was fortunate enough to host last semester, or if you didn’t miss it but just enjoyed it so much you want more— you’re in luck. This Thursday, February 6th, the E.LIT/NET.ART 2.0 exhibit will be showing at Hampshire College.

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(Not sure where the Harold F. Johnson Library is? It’s number 19 on the map here.)

Using the Vinyl Cutter

The Vinyl Cutter in the media lab can be used to make simple and complex decals that can be affixed to most surfaces!

Before using the cutter, you’ll want to make sure of a few things:
1. Make sure that the vinyl is not too taut: it should look something like this

2. Make sure the vinyl is sticking out past the cutting area a few inches. This can be achieved by manipulating the blue POSITION arrows on the cutter

Now, you are ready to prepare your image using Adobe Illustrator
1. Open Adobe Illustrator and create your image.
If you want to use an already-made image, select the image and click on “Image Trace” in the top bar. After clicking Image Trace, the button will change to “Expand”. Click on Expand.
After creating your image, go to File > Cutting Master 2 > Cut/PlotImage

2. Then, this window will pop up. If your graphic isn’t already in the lower right corner, place it there by clicking and dragging in the preview area. Cutting Master 2 is able to detect the size of the vinyl as well as the placement of the cutters, so you generally don’t need to adjust the size and settings options

3. When you’re ready to cut, press Send.
4. When the vinyl is cut, you have to use a razor or scissors to cut the vinyl away from the cutter.
5. Remove the vinyl surrounding your cut image.
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6. Get tape (ask a Media Lab monitor for tape) and place the adhesive side onto the color side of the vinyl. Rub it down vigorously, especially over your cut area!! You can use a card to really press down on the tape. This is important!
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7. Remove the tape slowly. It helps to pull straight up rather than at an angle
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8. Now, you’re ready to affix it onto a surface!
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Place it on, vigorously rub, and slowly remove.

Remember, you can always ask a Media Lab Monitor for help!

Apple Blossoms Emerge

It took until mid-May this year for the crab apple tree outside the Media Lab to blossom, and our time lapse camera was ready. This video shows two-hour windows of time from subsequent days, racing forward from winter to spring, before lingering for several days as the tree finally blooms. Watch for the limbs to droop at 1:33 as a passing shower weighs them down.

Rebuilding Paris with SketchUp

Last fall, students in Michael Davis’ Digital Paris course took part in an experiment to see how 3D modelling might shed light on Gothic architecture. Working from schematic drawings, students extruded simple cross sections into columns, arches, bases and tracery. Today, students can get help with SketchUp during staffed hours at the Media Lab or by appointment.

Lusha Sun's recreation of the Chapter House at the Church of the Cordeliers

Lusha Sun’s recreation of the Chapter House at the Church of the Cordeliers

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The Cell Phone Zone

Emil and Andreea put the vinyl cutter to good use last fall with their winning entry in the design competition for a cell phone zone in the library. By reimagining an old phone booth with a Doctor Who theme, they created a friendly space for students to take a break and chat. Come see it for yourself on the 6th floor of our “venerable yet hip” library.