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Studio & Hours

Two students working on a project

The prototyping studio at the Design Thinking Initiative is a collaborative space to make, create and work on projects of any kind. Our equipment includes two laser cutters, a 3D printer, a vinyl cutter, sewing machine and basic power tools. We also have low-res prototyping supplies (think glue and modeling clay!). Everyone is invited to use this space, and we strive to support those underrepresented as makers in claiming technology as their own. We’re open to students, staff, faculty and community members. Our work promotes the idea of making as a form of thinking and creative play—and we’re here to help you do that.

We have a new, fully accessible makerspace at Capen Annex. Come check out our vinyl cutter, Glowforge lasercutter, Ultimaker 3D printer and sewing machine during open hours.

Studio Open Hours

During open hours, the prototyping studio will be open and a staff member will be available to assist you with any of your project needs.

You can use this time to:

  • Use any of the tools and materials in the design studio.
  • Receive drop-in vinyl cutting, lasercutting or sewing help.
  • Work on a project without needing a buddy.
  • Receive safety training.
  • Meet others interested in making and design.

A staff member will be present during all design studio open hours. The design studio is open without technical support from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. most weekdays. Additional access to the downstairs prototyping studio can be granted upon completion of Level 1 safety training. Additional access to the upstairs prototyping studio can be granted with completion of Level 2 safety training.

Meet With Us

Make a one-on-one appointment with our staff for equipment training, project consultation or safety training. You can also use this page to reserve the lasercutter.



The Design Thinking Initiative is open from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. for independent work without staff support. If you need help using equipment, please visit us during open hours or make a time to meet with us. You can complete Level 1 Safety Training for 24 hour access to the first floor of Capen Annex, and Level 2 Safety Training for access to the upstairs studio space.

For equipment training, come to open hours and talk to one of our Studio Design Partners, or sign up for a training session!

Materials at the Design Thinking Initiative are free for all Smith College students, faculty, and staff. We ask that you use materials responsibly, with respect for our other Smith community members and the environment. Acrylic use is limited to a maximum of two sheets per project ($20!).

We are happy to help you order your own materials if you need to use a large amount of a material for a project, or if you are producing work on a large scale using studio equipment.

We love materials donations, especially:

  • Acrylic or other lasercuttable materials
  • Sewing supplies (thread, needles, unused fabric, scissors, etc)
  • Craft supplies (paint, glue, tape, wire, etc)

  • Tools

If you have a question about donating materials, please contact us at

The studio is not open for general community use, but equipment may be available for specific projects or collaborations. We try to accommodate as many community requests as possible, especially over the summer. Please contact Laura at for more information. We also host workshops and events which are open to the community. Check out our events page for more information.

Studio Design Partners

Our studio design partners work at the Design Thinking Initiative, and lead design projects, learn design and prototyping skills, enable student access to the prototyping studio through open hours, and help to maintain a safe and creative making environment.

To learn about open positions, join our mailing list by emailing us: