Makerspace goes full 'STEAM' ahead


ALAMOSA — This week the community is invited to explore the new home of the SLV STEAM Shop, a makerspace facility for hobbyists to work on projects. Instead of being at Ortega Middle School, their residence for the past four years, the workshop is now at the defunct Adams State University Community Partnerships building.

Standing for science, technology, engineering, art and math, the area is designed for amateur and expert tinkerers to construct whatever they can imagine. Members have access to soldering irons, 3D printers, saws, a laser cutter and other miscellaneous electronic components once they've paid a $10 fee.

"Say you're restoring cars and there are parts you can't get anymore," said George Sellman, president of the SLV STEAM Shop board. "We can't build an engine, yet, but for a knob or piece of plastic that fits somewhere, you can find those online and print it out."

The relocation allows for the ASU auxiliary program to expand their toolset to include welding and an electric crucible to melt metals for small-scale casting and jewelry making. During the open house the public can watch demonstrations with the available equipment.

It also provides members with a kitchen, bathrooms, lockers and long term workspaces while merging resources with ASU's robotics program, which is already housed in the building.

SLV STEAM Shop Board President George Sellman demonstrates the makerspace's laser cutter. The workshop also has equipment for welding, small-scale casting, soldering and more.

"I don't need a crowbar in a robot lab," Sellman said, "but it's a good thing to have in a general purpose space."

Eventually Sellman hopes to acquire a CNC machine mill and 3D scanner. However, the assistant professor of computer science said that it's the 15-20 members of the makerspace from across the San Luis Valley who add value.

"You come over to use a laser cutter but it's busy, but then you start talking about your project with somebody and bounce ideas off of them. Or if you're into this kind of thing and don't have the money to buy a laser cutter, you can come here and learn how to do it.

"We have the tools, but we also have the people."

Attend the open house on March 7 from noon to 8 p.m. and on March 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at ASU's Community Partnerships building to get involved. Interested community members can also visit slvsteamshop.org.

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