The primary function of The Workshop was to be a space that enables students to continue making after the main shop closes. However, it was in a state of disarray. There was a perpetuated culture of lack of respect for the space: machines were not cleaned, benchtops were left cluttered with tools and scrap metal, and tools were taken and not returned. These behaviors were enabled by the community view that the space was considered separate and distinct from the main shop, and thus did not . This divide between the “main” and “mini” shops was primarily a result of the lack of formal ownership of the mini-shop by any member of the shop staff.
A common problem faced by users of the shop is not being able to find the necessary tool when one needs it. Tools can be distributed throughout the space, thrown haphazardly in drawers, or sometimes "borrowed" indefinitely. This means that sometimes one spends more time looking for the right tool than actually using it. This can lead to people either misusing tools that they can quickly find or getting frustrated with the state of the shop. We would also like to encourage users of the shop to put tools back where they belong as they finish using them and discourage them from leaving tools out for extended periods of time.
Tools should be as easy to return as they are to find.
We’re trying to make machine training more accessible to everyone by rethinking the training process a student interested in using The Shop would need to go through. The current process is inconsistent and intimidating from the perspective of the time committment required for some machines. We aim to create a more open, inviting, and standardized process that minimizes the barriers to go from expressing interest to being able to make artifacts for projects of any kind.
Presently our fabrication spaces and equipment are very strong in metal, and rapid prototyping resources (laser cutting, 3D printing, etc.). However, our woodworking capabilities are very limited due to space constraints. This is a significant area of opportunity that The Shop is striving to take advantage of as a part of its ongoing improvement process. Adding woodworking capabilities would not only enhance the functionality of The Shop but also attract new members to The Shop community at Olin.