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Beyond PowerPoints and Papers: Makerspaces, Rare Books and 3D Printing for Your Project

August 2nd, 2017

Are you looking to spice up your next project with some unique resources or an out-of-the-ordinary presentation? Whether you need an old newspaper article for history class or you want to print a model of an acid chain for chemistry, the libraries and maker spaces on campus can help you ensure you have more options for projects than just papers and PowerPoints.

The best place to start if you want to add an interesting detail to your next project is the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room in the Dana Porter Library, named after the University of Waterloo’s first librarian. This room houses the Special Collections and Archives, which now numbers at over 70,000 items. This room is where you want to inquire first if you're producing work in the fields of women's studies, local history, dance and ballet, architecture, printing and urban planning. There's even items for the mathematics students to explore such as a copy of Euchlid's Elements of Geometry. Many of the items in the archives are old and fragile so the staff are always on hand to help you find exactly what you need without damaging any of the precious materials.

If you're more comfortable doing your research from the comfort of your own room, the Special Collections and Archives also have a series of digital exhibits that you can browse online. Peek into the past by browsing diaries, pictures, albums and scrapbooks.

Once you've found all this great info, how will you display it in an interesting way? The New Media Services team around campus has all the equipment and know-how you need to print everything from a 5 foot collage for visual arts or 3D print a model of the human heart for biology. You can even have a printed circuit board manufactured for yourself.

“I've printed giant infographics for an information design course and some marketing material for another class that was just too much to print on my own,” said Maggie Bradley, a co-op English student. “They helped me choose a paper that would look nice but not cost too much and they can work with you in person or via email, so it's very handy.”

If your ideas and plans for projects require your own space to create and build, check out the Velocity Start Makerspace on the second floor of South Campus Hall. This workshop/creative space is open to students from any faculty at the University of Waterloo and features resources such as 3D printers, private bookable rooms, and a lounge area. Velocity Start also hosts frequent workshops, discussions and brainstorming sessions to help percolate ideas and inspire students.

Try researching your next big project at one of the unique spaces available to Waterloo students and take advantage of the knowledgeable staff on hand.


Written by Leanna Walsh, Communications Assistant.