In my opinion, one of the most underutilized resources available to students at Johns Hopkins University is the Makerspace, located in the Pava Center in the Remington neighborhood. Just a short 10-minute walk or shuttle ride from campus, this design center offers all the tools you may need to turn your wildest creative dreams into reality. Whether you’re an engineer, an art enthusiast, or simply someone with a passion for making things, the Makerspace is a place where you can bring your ideas to life. 

My first introduction to the Makerspace was through a course called Action Lab, a multidisciplinary design elective that focused on developing prototyping skills. This class was not only about learning how to use new machinery, but also about understanding how to approach the design process. We met once a week at the Pava Center. This gave us convenient access to equipment like 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, laser cutters, a wood shop, electrical station, and more. As I worked on different projects, I consulted with my professor on which materials and tools to use together for the best outcome.

The Makerspace hosts so much equipment, like this wall of 3D printers. 

The Makerspace is open to all students, but using machinery requires general safety and equipment-specific training. After my initial training on operating some of the tools, I felt much more comfortable experimenting with different uses and exploring other machinery (I finally fulfilled a goal of mine to use a benchtop band saw). The technicians at the Makerspace are incredibly knowledgeable and always ready to help bring your ideas to life. They often host workshops with a cool final project that you can take home, like building a Bluetooth speaker or making custom stickers.  

I’ve been able to apply the skills I acquired to my other coursework. For an open-ended group project in a course called Storytelling with Data, my partners wanted to create a physical project. We decided on a recreation of Monopoly and brushed up on our tool training. We 3D-printed different pieces and laser-cut a wooden board to create our own board game. 

We used the laser cutter to etch detailed designs on our Monopoly board.  

Beyond its role as a fabrication workshop, the Makerspace is an underrated study spot. Its spacious layout includes tables and whiteboards for group collaboration and quiet meeting rooms for focused study sessions. Its proximity to R. House, a food hall, makes it easy to grab a quick lunch or coffee, and Greedy Reads, a nearby bookstore, offers a cozy spot to browse for your next read. During finals week, I’ve spent entire days here. This off-campus location provides a refreshing change of scenery from the usual campus study spots. 

The Makerspace is a fantastic resource more students should take advantage of. Whether you’re looking to complete a class project, develop new skills, or simply find a new place to study, the Makerspace at the Pava Center has something to offer. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this incredible facility and discover all the possibilities it holds.