The last time I felt this excited about a student space was a year ago, when I stepped into my residential college (Morse!) for the first time. The pianos in the practice rooms, the brick oven pizza in the dining hall, the boutique microphones in the recording studio and all the amazing textiles in the fabric studio immediately sparked ideas and projects, many of which have come to fruition, like Suite Spot (an ensemble I started with freshman suitemates, check out this link http://admissions.yale.edu/bulldogs-blogs/lamtharn/2012/03/28/suite-spot-goes-official). The Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) kick-started this process all over again!
The CEID is a workshop space on the first floor of Becton Engineering Center houseing state of the art machines and tools for pretty much any engineering, electronics or DIY project you can think of. I was particularly blown away by the three (yes three!) 3D printers. The one with the highest resolution can produce an intact chain with moving components from without needing to link the pieces together! There are also laser cutters for materials like metal and wood, meeting rooms with whiteboard walls, lockers for storing projects, and the first-of-its-kind open wet lab for projects in chemistry, biology, or biomedical engineering.
I myself compose and perform a lot of electronic music, and I’ve always been interested in designing and constructing custom electronic music controllers. Think light activated dubstep wobbles, Y shaped DJ sets, and custom buttons to be attached to acoustic instruments to collapse barriers between the conventional instrument’s performance and computer-processed sounds. However, I’ve never been able to get my hands on the required tools. Where can I use a soldering iron? Where can I get a 200 μF capaci…woops I meant a 5000 μF capacitor? Where can I cut the aluminum housing for my device? Is my microcontroller even outputting a signal?
The CEID has it all.
There is an electronics bench filled with trays of resistors, transistors and wires, and most importantly, a “use-them-as-you-need-and-let-me-know-when-they-run-out” policy. I think it’s literally a dream come true! It’s never been easier to start a DIY project!
Membership is open to all Yale undergraduates, graduates and professors and is really easy: a simple safety quiz, tour, and orientation is all that is required. Of course, additional training is necessary for specific machinery, but the CEID is incredibly accessible, and aims to promote collaboration between students. It’s not every day all this high tech equipment is put in one place, and even rarer for there to be an open invitation for students to come in and experiment - for Yalies, this space is just across the street from Commons Dining Hall!
The main hall of workbenches at the CEID.
The electronics benches.
The first 3D printer (MakerBot) and 3D printed bulldogs!
The other two 3D printers ready for student projects.
Heavy-duty machinery for metal and wood.
The CEID also contains spaces for brainstorming project ideas and group meetings.