Maker Club launches at CCSF

Our students are so excited for the upcoming maker spaces that they formed their own student-run Maker Club this past Spring. The Maker Club is open to all registered students at City College of San Francisco and serves many purposes for our students; it is a forum for students to share their maker projects and collaborate with others, a space to learn new making skills, a channel through which to learn about maker-related courses, and an opportunity to develop leadership skills. The Maker Club also serves as one of many windows into the student body’s maker interests for the faculty MakerSphere Committee, and a channel through which the MakerSphere Committee can exchange ideas with the Maker Club.

To get the ball rolling, the club invited a number of faculty members to be guest speakers at the biweekly meetings.

The first guest speakers were Art Department Chair and printmaking instructor Anna Asebedo and sculpture instructor Stephanie Robison. Asebedo and Robison brought a number of art pieces with them to share with the club and explained the different techniques used. Students were fascinated by the art pieces, and excited to hear about the Art Department’s course offerings to expand their maker skills. Afterward, Stephanie gave the Maker Club members a tour of the sculpture classroom and other art spaces, describing the purpose of various manual and electrical tools and acting as docent for the many works of art on display.

Next up was Chef Jennifer Rudd, who kindly invited us on a field trip to her kitchen at the Chef’s Table restaurant on campus. Rudd introduced students to the field of molecular gastronomy — an approach to cooking that focuses on chemistry and physics — and taught us about chocolate foam. It turns out that in spite of the age-old wisdom that adding water to chocolate will cause irreparable damage, it is actually possible to combine water and chocolate in a ratio that achieves a fat content similar to heavy cream. The mixture is heated until melted and smooth, then cooled over an ice bath and whipped into a foam just as one would whip heavy cream into whipped cream. In the photo below you can see Chef Rudd (center) with club officers Irvin Tancioco (left) and Raymond Chen (right) and club member Clarence Luk (left, behind Tancioco).

Club maker making chocolate foam

The third and last guest speaker of the semester was music instructor Matthew Creer. Creer introduced club members to the idea of making music by writing code in SuperCollider. After a few demonstrations of that, Creer brought out electronic musical children’s toys and introduced the club members to electrical engineering. Students were given the opportunity to take apart the toys and alter the internal wiring in order to create different sound effects. They relished this hands-on opportunity and got a real kick out of exploring the internal components of seemingly simple toys that most of us take for granted.

Club president Michael Leung also presented in the Collaboratory on using 3D printers and how they work. The audience was made up of both students and faculty, and the presentation was well reviewed. Leung collaborated with library faculty member Alan D’Souza in advance to test the 3D printers and print the same model with different settings in order to give the audience tangible evidence of how the settings affect the final product.

The Maker Club has brought together an enthusiastic group of students and has very slowly grown in membership over the course of the semester. Fall 2018 is sure to bring bigger events and more guest speakers.

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