The Make48 team was in Stoughton this past weekend to take over the Stoughton FabLab center for a 48-hour collaborative inventory and maker challenge!
Seven teams competed in this year's event, sponsored by Trek Bicycle, which also created the challenge's theme of "sustainable mobility".
“The need for innovative solutions to help people travel in more environmentally sustainable ways has never been more significant than it is today,” said Trek Brand Director Eric Bjorling. “We’re excited to support the efforts of the creators and looking forward to seeing the results of the competition.”
The FabLab is an ideal space to host this event because of the vast amount of technology and equipment available, in addition to the facility being well organized and maintained. The manufacturing facility allowed for an easily accessible setup and workspace that rivals universities and top training centers, making the high school space a rarity.
While the FabLab proved to be a successful choice by the Make48 team, it was its advisor Mike Connor who advocated to have the FabLab be strongly considered during the location selection processes.
When asked to reflect on the event weekend, Amy Gray, co-founder of Make48, responded "This facility is fabulous, we had excellent helpers, wonderful tool techs, and great teams to work with. I think it went extremely smooth and was a breeze for our Make48 team."
The enthusiasm for this event could be seen throughout the weekend by the high number of attendees present. Attendees included, but not limited to, representatives and engineers from Trek Bicycle, Alliant Energy, Cummins, Stoughton Trailers, Ultimaker, MatterHackers, Lincoln Electric, and more. As part of the challenge, the Make48 crew had advisors/mentors, inventors, entrepreneurs, and patent attorneys present throughout the weekend to ensure the teams had valuable resources and insight as they created their designs, and collaborated with the tool techs.
While the competing teams designed the creations, it was the tool techs who did the physical creation of the designs, as the competitors were not allowed to handle the equipment themselves. SHS students, both recent graduates and still enrolled, served as the tool techs for the teams.
"The joy for me and everyone on the Stoughton team is watching these students, 13 to 17-year-olds, running 3D printers, lasers, CNC machines, and designing for the adults," said Connor. "That's what I'm most proud of today, is the students."
The winning team from this event will move onto the Nationals event taking place in Kansas City this March. Viewers will be able to watch Stoughton's FabLab episode on PBS airing this fall.
Fab Lab Stoughton is located in Stoughton High School, a public high school in Stoughton, Wisconsin which opened to students in 2013. A state-of-the-art makerspace, Fab Lab offers courses to students, as well as workshops for community members. It is the first public high school in Wisconsin and second in the nation to have a lab entirely dedicated to makers grades 9-12. The facility features equipment for all matters of making, including 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, electronics, woodworking, and more.
Make48 is a nationwide invention-competition docuseries distributed by leading syndicator American Public Television that gives teams a challenge at the start of a two-day event. With just 48 hours, teams must create a prototype, promotional video and sales sheet, and present their idea to a panel of judges. The teams have access to a makerspace and numerous Tool Techs that can make almost anything, patent attorneys, marketing experts, and more. This format allows everyone to have a level playing field and the chance to win, with no prior technical knowledge necessary.
Trek Bicycle is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of bicycles and related products. Trek believes the bicycle can be a simple solution to many of the world’s most complex problems and is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from using bicycles more often for transportation, recreation, and inspiration.