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Makerspaces Turn Students Into Confident Builders

Duke engineering students arrive at their first day of classes equipped with a dazzling array of skills and talents. Whether they’re elite athletes, polyglots, musicians or budding entrepreneurs, they’ve all demonstrated ambition and academic excellence.

But some of these aspiring engineers have never even picked up a hammer or used a power drill, let alone tried their hand at 3D printing.

“No worries,” said Ali Stocks, who manages The Foundry, a 7600-square-foot maker space in Gross Hall on West Campus. The Foundry’s staff, Stocks said, can teach any student how to use just about any tool in the space: laser cutters, drill presses, bandsaws, milling machines—and yes, even hammers.