The Design, Make, Manufacture program (DMM) is an internship program in partnership with the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center (The Met School), and FABx for the past three years.  Currently led by Providence team member Brenda Adames and Newport team members Chris Gross and Josie Michaud, DMM is a twice-a-week, during-school-hours, hands-on learning experience for 9th – 11th graders. While DMM is almost always a Providence based program, this semester DMM is taking place right here in The Fab Lab. 

Have you ever been to the Fab Lab before? How do you feel making things?

“No… I do this at a school, but now I’m in a place where I’m allowed to do this. I’ll be in math at school, crocheting, and knowing I shouldn’t, but this is what I do, this is what I want to do,” said while running wool between her fingers… “I like being allowed to do things. I like using tools, learning new tools. Using the laser cutter, the vinyl cutter, was so cool to make things.” 

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In the Lab, MET students learn how to use various equipment through demonstration and practice including sewing and embroidery Machines, our vinyl cutters, sublimation printers, heat presses, laser cutters, 3D printers, electronics, micro-controllers, and hand tools.

Though DMM is a career readiness internship, to many learners DMM is a creative get-away (“a unicorn space”, as Maker and UX Design Coach Brenda Adames would say). It is a place where students can learn, create, explore, and push their passions; an in-school experience driven by their own interest AND their own wants

What equipment were you most excited about being able to learn/use when you came into The Fab Lab?

“The sewing machine for sure. I’ve always wanted to learn how to use the sewing machine, but I’ve never had one of my own or one to use. Now I can learn. I want to learn how to make stuffed animals… and sell them.” 

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DMM has opened up a new world for many of the learners involved by giving them access to tools some have never had any access to, and providing them with hands-on experience. Working with new tools – like our laser cutter and 3D printer – provides opportunities for students to gain confidence and understanding. They are able to assess, examine, and process tools and make meaningful assumptions about it and its use.

Design, Make, Manufacture is an introductory career readiness course. This internship prepares students to work in advanced manufacturing, product development and rapid prototyping. The course is process oriented & outcome focused-student work emphasizes design thinking and completing projects with personal relevance and community impact. The course explores important, real world scenarios like problem solving, exploring curiosity, pushing initiative, communication, collaboration, technical skills, design processes, and various manufacturing techniques. And most importantly, the course is driven by student inquiry and experiential learning.  

How do you feel when you get to make things?

“Relaxed. When I’m here, I’m making things I want to make. Doing things I want to do. I feel nice. I don’t usually get to do stuff like this. I like having the time to do it”

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