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This content was published: March 2, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Sylvania’s MakerLab is a hub for rapid prototyping courses for the community

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Lantern isolated on table.

The Portland Community College MakerLab at the Sylvania Campus is a large space, full of cool machines and tools. From 3D printers, vinyl and laser cutters to sewing machines, the MakerLab is where you can turn plans into reality.

As the MakerLab Coordinator, Amy Petit leads and facilitates the use of the space, teaching classes and camps. She works with students and the college community to print or cut both pre-designed projects and projects from scratch. 

“My favorite part of the job is giving tours, because I can help people see how the equipment works and how easy it is to get started,” Petit beamed.

The MakerLab is available for students, staff, and faculty during open lab hours. The community can access it as well, through a slate of Community Education Program classes. Petit teaches three courses open to the public as non-credit offerings that involve laser and vinyl cutting or using the lab’s 3D machines.

Amy Petit holds laser-cut lantern.
The MakerLab
  • This is an interdisciplinary space located at the Sylvania Campus where PCC students, staff, faculty or the public can develop, create and share ideas.
  • The MakerLab has 3D printers, vinyl cutters, sewing machines, laser cutters, vacuum forming, sheet metal equipment and hand tools at the ready.

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These are fairly new, but Petit said, “I’m excited to see how much interest and enthusiasm there are for these classes.”

Petit’s most recent class was “Laser Cutting: Holiday Edition,” in which students designed their own snowflake ornaments and made a garland of stars, each laser-cut from thin sheets of wood. And, her students used her assistance to work on their own personal design projects. In previous classes, students have made decorative lantern candle holders that project stars onto walls when lit.

This winter, Petit is teaching a “Laser Cutting: Jewelry” class where students are making necklaces, pendants and earrings out of wood and acrylic. She also led a vinyl cutting class where students made custom stickers, stencils and t-shirt designs. This spring, PCC’s Community Ed Program and Petit will host three classes at the Sylvania MakerLab — “3D Printing for Beginners,” “Vinyl Cutting: Introduction,” and “Laser Cutting: Introduction.” 

In addition to Petit’s work, other instructors will host similar classes at PCC’s Cascade Campus FabLab in North Portland.

Petit has worked at the college for almost nine years. With experience in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and a master’s in Sculpture, she is all about combining disciplines to create amazing projects. 

“This space is open to all areas,” she said. “It is vital. People from different disciplines are able to work together, which makes it a rich environment for learning.”

To sign up for these or other maker classes at PCC, visit the college’s Community Education program website to explore.

About Sarah Rose Evans

Sarah Rose Evans is a graduate of Columbia University's school of the arts, and has been working for Portland Community College since 2015. more »

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x by Jennifer Boehmer 2 years ago

A beautiful story! Amy is a true “maker” and I’m so glad the PCC community gets the chance to use this facility under the guidance of someone who deeply understands the science of craft.

x by Linda Fergusson-Kolmes 2 years ago

Amy has put together some project to support my biology students, that have been amazing!

x by Harry Davis 2 years ago

Amy has so generously helped me for several years. I’ve needed molds for my organic chemistry dental hygiene course, and Amy has patiently made them for me out of several different materials. My students love the tooth-shaped composite pieces that they make in the lab, and I am always anxious to give a shout out to Amy for the help she’s given me.

x by Greg Gerstner 2 years ago

Amy and the MakerLab have been a wonderful resource for Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology and ENGR courses! I always appreciate Amy’s expertise and friendliness in working with students and faculty.

x by Christine Weber 2 years ago

Amy has worked closely with so many of our Art faculty and students in classes as diverse as 3-D Design, Printmaking, Painting and Sculpture. Last year she also volunteered her time to develop a project for activist artist, Mónica Mayer’s visit to PCC from Mexico City. Amy is a treasure and our students are lucky to have access to her knowledge and creativity at PCC.

(P.S. She has work on view in the Faculty Show in the Northview Gallery right now and it’s well worth the trip to the CT building to see in person!)

x by Elia Unverzagt 2 years ago

Amy has generously given her time and expertise to the PCC Foundation and some beautiful projects that we’ve created as well. Thank you for being such a wonderful partner and teacher, Amy!

x by Burke Thornburg 2 years ago

I’ve been amazed at how our ability to design and create new technologies can be artful or improve our lives. Good job. That said more of artful design can be found at icr.org, which is looking at sciences as reverse engineering from a master designer.