Emmanuel’s Think Tank

Emmanuel College has its own Think Tank happening within the Library Innovation Maker Space on campus. When an issue presented itself during the planning phase of the new residence hall project, one of Emmanuel’s students took matters into his own hands and discovered a creative, cost-saving solution.

ISSUE: Unfortunately, the devices that will provide wireless internet access, wireless access points (WAP), throughout the new residence hall show the cable connections. For aesthetics purposes, the goal was to purchase a cover to hide these cables.

PURCHASED OPTIONS: Emmanuel’s IT department researched multiple options, including full covers at a cost of over $50.00 per unit (281 WAPs total). The option selected was a smaller, rear only plate that would cover the specific cable area at $10.50 per unit.

INTERNAL OPTIONS: A student worker in the Information Technology department, Jeff Malavasi (pictured above), decided he would try to design and print his own rear cover plate, similar to the option selected for purchase. The first model (pictured below) was created using common office supplies such as paper, cardboard, and rulers. After that a digital model was designed using free software provided by Microsoft and Autodesk. The digital model was then 3D printed using equipment from the Library Innovation Maker Space. As prototypes were designed and printed, the quality increased.

SOLUTION: The final prototype is shown in the photo below (final would be flat white to match the device).  With the correct 3D printer, these could be printed by Emmanuel at a cost below $2.00 per unit, saving over $8.00 per unit or an estimated $2,500.

The possibilities of creative solutions to come out of the Library Innovation Maker Space are limitless!