The set of hand-drawn icons for the machine shop.

The set of hand-drawn icons for the machine shop.

Environments Workshop: The Machine Shop

Our team aimed to make the Olin Machine Shop a more accessible space to the community. The Shop was created to support our mechanical engineering program, but was not as open to student involvement or integrated into the curriculum as thoroughly as desired. We made material stock and hardware available to students through academic funding, improved displays of machine capabilities, made Shop staff and student workers more visible, and opened lines of sight into the shop.

 
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Highlighting people + capabilities

In response to outdated display cases for the shop and non-mechanical engineering students' hesitancy to participate in shop activities, the new entrance to the machine shop showcases tool capabilities (everything was fabricated using tools in the shop) and machine shop staff and student instructors. The display emphasizes the availability of the shop's resources.

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Finding (temporary) space

Space on Olin's small campus is a valuable resource. Work from the machine shop was already spilling out into the hallway, so we formalized that overflow via modular work pods, complete with moveable whiteboards and storage racks. Everything in the hallway can be nested together and tucked away when the space is used for events.

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Designing a brand

As part of the project, I designed a set of icons for use throughout the space. The initial plan for this set of icons was to craft our own versions of the serious icons commonly used for safety signage, but we soon realized that the shop culture lacked levity, and its seriousness deterred non-mechanical engineering students from becoming involved in shop activities. We instead opted for a friendlier set of icons derived from the concept sketches I had made, and expanded the set of icons as we worked.

Creating clarity

 BEFORE - Redundant signage cluttered lines of sight.

BEFORE - Redundant signage cluttered lines of sight.

 AFTER - Clear lines of site and more cohesive signage increase accessiblity.

AFTER - Clear lines of site and more cohesive signage increase accessiblity.


Moody Innovation Fellow
Summer 2016
Olin College of Engineering
Team: Jeff Goldenson, Aaron Hoover, Jonathon Jacobs, Sean Lowen