Cookies   I display ads to cover the expenses. See the privacy policy for more information. You can keep or reject the ads.

Video thumbnail
The hobby shop started when a group of students
got together and approached Vannevar Bush, who was then
the vice president of MIT, who agreed to give them
some space in the basement of building two
to set up a shop where they could pursue
their own interests.
Their hobbies.
They first just collected old equipment
that was being thrown out by MIT, and refurbished it,
got it working again, and started working.
At first, it was only for students,
and it was only for hobby type work.
In fact, there was a whole hobby philosophy
that they wrote about.
That you weren't a well-rounded individual
unless you pursued some outside interests,
seriously, which was your hobby.
I'm building a 3-D printer.
This is the first 3D printer for the hobby shop.
It came as a kit, so I've been spending the past few days
just putting it together, and right now I'm wiring it up.
3D printing has been around MIT for quite a few years now,
so this is just our plunge into that.
And hopefully within a few weeks we'll
be able to start teaching how to 3-D print,
how to model for 3-D printing, and how to design for that too.
So originally it was a student club,
and it was for students only.
I don't really have any facts on this,
but I can only imagine that as students graduated,
they said, gee, I still want to use this shop,
so I guess we're going to let alumni in.
And so nowadays we allow faculty staff, as well as alumni,
and students, to join and use the shop.
We're quite unique in that it's non departmental and open
to all departments' students.
Which I think is one of the wonderful aspects of the shop.
And the fact that you can meet faculty down here on a very
casual basis, and you're all using the shop
with a common interest.
And so people show interest in other-- and expertise
that we wouldn't otherwise have come into the shop.
That's the great part of being at MIT.
People have such a wide range of knowledge,
and they like to share it.
It's really great.
You get to pass on the knowledge,
and since everyone's project is different,
it sort of challenges us to stay on our toes.
I came to MIT in June, 2004.
And I did not discover the hobby shop
until I was working in EAPS, and I
had to make a camera for the EAPS department.
And when I was working with the camera
I got entrenched more into doing work
that was related to making the camera,
then analyzing the data.
And I found myself at the hobby shop.
Just to make a plate that was going to hold the CCD.
The beauty of it was I had no idea how
to use any of these machines, and I just
came in with an idea, like, I need to do this out of metal.
And talking with Ken, and everyone else here, I
learned how to use the lathe.
And then I got thrown to mechanical engineering.
So I started in nuclear engineering, changed
to mechanical engineering, and a lot of it was due
because of this.
I enjoy making things, and the hobby shop
has the great atmosphere to come,
and you bring your ideas to life.
From what I've read, the evolution of the shop
was that MIT decided that they were
going to hire a professional shop master,
for safety reasons.
And that happened right during World War II.
And I think, because there was a shop master, slowly
the club aspect of it, and being totally run by students,
got less and less.
When I came to MIT in 1968, there was really no club left.
And I'm very, very excited that a group of students
have restarted the club.
These are students that have worked
in the shop for a number of years,
have learned about the history of the shop,
and also learning at a deeper level about running a shop
and maintaining a shop.
Also, helping other students by giving them instruction,
which is great.
We started the club-- the hobby shop club--
in order to actually learn how to maintain machines, and use
them as well.
Also, in the club we show younger students
how to do things, because all of this
is exposure, and expertise, and we're very much
hands on engineering.
If I'm coming in, and I'm a beginner,
and I don't know how to use a mill,
or I don't know how to use a lathe,
but they do need to use it, then all I have to do
is ask one of the more senior members.
And say, hey, look can you help me with this?
And a senior member should not be so entrenched in their own
work that they cannot stop and teach someone else.
And that's part of the agreement that we made.
That no matter what we're working on,
if someone else needs help, we stop,
and we teach them how to use the machine.
Because that's how we learned, and we
want to pass on that ball.
The reason the shop has been successful, and is now
and it's 75th year, and thriving,
is because it just fits with the type of student who
comes to MIT.
It's all about creating, and that's when MIT students really
get excited.
These students want to make things.
They have ideas, but they want to see
these ideas come to reality.