Innovation Club offers space to create

Got a product you’re designing? An experiment in mind? A prototype you want to develop? WMU’s new Innovation Club has space, equipment and people to help you tinker, test and try out your ideas.

“We wanted to create an open, accessible space where people can learn,” said Mac Preston, a mechanical engineering senior and president of the Innovation Club, a new registered student organization. A makerspace, ideation space, hackerspace – call it what you will, it’s a place to experiment, create and design.

The club operates in two locations. The larger of the two spaces is at the WMU hangar at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport, formerly the site of WMU’s aviation program. Currently it is open for students to use on a project to project basis.  Equipment there includes woodworking and metalworking equipment, hand tools, benches and a paint booth. New equipment is being added all the time.

“We can change how the space is used based on how people want to use it,” Preston said.

A second space is located within the University Computing Center attached to the WMU library. Here, would-be inventors and innovators can use 3D printers, rapid prototyping supplies like popsicle sticks, string and electronics to work the bugs out of their designs. Innovation Club members recently built their own 3D printer and now are working on 3D printing drones. The center is open Monday – Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

“With these spaces, we want to spur people’s imagination and expose them to technology they might not see elsewhere,” Preston said.

He said while many of the club’s 20 or so members are students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the club is open to all. “We’d love to have students from the business school, from fine arts, from across the university, get involved in the club or just take advantage of the space,” Preston said.

Through October, there is no fee to use the space, which can be for university-related projects, and for personal and recreational projects as well. After October, a nominal charge may be introduced to fund upkeep of the tooling.

For more information, contact Mac Preston at