Kansas City Maker Studio

Kansas City Maker Studio: A 3D printing hub in Science City

Opened in 2012, the Maker Studio is an educational makerspace and FabLab inside Science City, an 80,000 square foot Science Center. With a prime location at the one-hundred year old Union Station Kansas City, the Maker Studio is an outgrowth of Maker Faire Kansas City, which the station has hosted since 2011.

The Science Center prides itself on being a national leader in STEAM education and providing the community with valuable experiential learning. In 2015, the Center won the prestigious EDGIE award from The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), a non-profit organization of science centers and museums representing 650 members in 50 countries.

Kansas City Maker Studio Entrance
The Maker Studio entrance

The Maker Studio is comprised of six lab areas: Fabrics & Textiles, Fabrication (Traditional Tools), CNC, 3D Printing, Electronics, and Molding & Casting. These labs familiarize visitors with the technology at hand while also instructing them on how to gain access to such tools and materials.

Maker Studio accomplishes this in a variety of ways; open-house hours for the general public, discovery area field trips for K-12 and homeschooled children, as well as special events for teachers, artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, and start-ups.

Ultimaker equipment at Maker Studio

The 3D printing lab revolves around the Ultimaker platform with 17 printers in-house, including the Ultimaker Original, Ultimaker 2+, Ultimaker 2 Extended+, and Ultimaker 2 Go. Lab managers operate the machines in a variety of ways that both educate and benefit the community. Engineering staff in the building use the Ultimaker printers to maintain Union Station, whether they’re recreating historic chandeliers or producing plaster moldings that are no longer available.

Maker Studio KCMO Printed Parts
Maker Studio Chandelier Parts
Maker Studio Chandelier In Progress
Maker Studio KCMO chandelier

Teaching young minds and entrepreneurs alike

While the printers are utilized by staff to create furniture pieces, make fixtures and hold demos in Science City, patrons of all ages can take advantage of this technology. Students visiting Maker Studio on classroom field trips transform their designs from paper to print with the Doodle 3D and Tinkercad apps, learning the ins and outs of additive manufacturing.

Maker Studio Ultimaker Print Farm
Photo by Roy Inman

The studio is also practical for creating prototypes and products that entrepreneurs aren’t able to produce in cost-effective ways, providing vital opportunities for inventors and business owners. During holidays and special events like traveling exhibits, patrons and staff create 3D printed objects to share with visitors and further enrich the community.

Choosing Ultimaker as the standard for this Makerspace and FabLab has eliminated the bottleneck that comes with unreliable machinery. The ability to start a print and not worry about the process improves productivity and efficiency, allowing for greater freedom, collaboration and creativity for everyone involved.

Kansas City Maker Studio Ultimaker Printing
Photo by Roy Inman

The Maker Studio is advantageous in gathering data about the best practices for running a print farm, as well as the benefits that come with public access. It provides unique and irreplaceable opportunities for the community, from demos and tours for regional business to educational institutions incorporating 3D printing into their ecosystem.

To see similar applications of 3D printing in the educational space, browse our Explore pages!