Makerspace allows Airmen to accelerate change

  • Published
  • By Katherine Franco
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The SparkED Innovation Team hosted a 3-D Printing Basic Workshop at Edwards Air Force Base, Sept. 22.

More than 30 participants, including UC Berkley’s Innovation Department via webcam, attended the workshop session at the 412 TW Makerspace.

You may have heard the term “makerspace” before, but exactly what is a makerspace? 

“A makerspace is a place in which Airmen, military or civilian, with shared mindsets, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing skills and knowledge,” said Britney Reed, 412th Test Wing Plans and Operations, Continuous Process Improvement Manager. “The 412 TW Makerspace has power tools, laser-cutters, 3-D printers, t-shirt press, vinyl cutter, etc. Our AR/VR/XR lab has a Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Rift, and Vibe Pro Secure Headset.”

With a makerspace, users can build a prototype such as robotic parts, prosthetics, metal sculpture, and much more.

“Teaching people the basic skills and the mindset gets them thinking about the application of those skills to new flight test capabilities, workplace efficiencies, and/or quality of life improvements,” Reed said.

Reed stated an essential part of the makerspace is the collaboration and skill sharing aspect to arm Airmen a way to innovate prototype solutions.

“Think about the power of a 30-year civilian from Ridley Mission Control working with a young maintainer in the space. Those two people might never interface in their normal jobs, but in the makerspace, their skills sets will help us accelerate change with the diversity and depth of their experiences,” Reed added.

SparkED is the 412th TW Innovation Team and is the official AFWERX-recognized Spark Cell for Edwards. The team helps Airman innovators find resources for their ideas through AFWERX or SparkED’s XCITE Pitch Process. They also help send Airmen to external innovation courses, facilitate Continuous Process Improvement and Innovation events, and help manage different Innovation Spaces on base.

“The innovation team is fueled by passionate volunteers who ignite culture change through facilitating events, workshops, and projects,” said Jeremy Germita, an IT specialist with the 412th Communications Squadron. “Our workshops and makerspace efforts are focused around enabling our Airmen and Edwards community members to expand their skillsets. They can then utilize these new skills to improve the processes around them in their daily lives.”

SparkED’s next workshop, laser cutting, is scheduled for Oct. 6 at 2 p.m., in the 412 TW Makerspace at 1100 Kincheloe Ave., Bldg. 7210.