Academic journal article Human Ecology

Master Builders

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Master Builders

Article excerpt

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The college's wood and metal shop, on level 2L of the Human Ecology Building, is a builder's paradise filled with computer-driven routers, saws, drill presses, sanders, lathes, and more. Nearby there's a laser cutter for detailing and a high-end 3D printer. "If you can imagine it, you can build it," say supervisor John Stager (right) and assistant Charles Beach, who guide faculty and student ideas for furniture, clothing, and other products to life.

"Mainly, we're here for safety," says Beach, "but also for assistance. If students paint themselves into a corner, we're here to help them design solutions to achieve the result they want."

During the summer, "90 percent of our work supports research," says Stager, as professors test new concepts. For instance, Assistant Professor Huiju Park visited the shop and noticed a bright green toy octopus printed from a highly durable NinjaFlex filament. He and students are now studying gloves embedded with the material as a way to protect caretakers from bites by autistic children.

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(1) "Professor Kathleen Gibson teaches a DEA class where the students make quarter-scale furniture," Stager says. …

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