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

Keywords: Space Design, Fabrication, Branding

During the summer of 2016, I worked on campus at Olin to continue the momentum of space hacking and innovation that began during the 2014-2015 school year with Olin Workshop on the Library. We identified a few environments on campus that we found prime for change, and ultimately focused our attention on our Machine Shop. 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.

Our team aimed to make the Machine Shop a more accessible space to the community. Projects we worked on included making material stock and hardware available to students through academic funding, improving displays of machine capabilities, making Shop staff and student workers more visible, and opening lines of sight into the shop.

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.

 

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

 
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Highlighting people + capabilities

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.

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.

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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.