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The Prototyping Studio is where your ideas come to life! Our studio is open to anyone on campus—students, faculty, and staff. We invite you to explore making and make projects of any kind. If you have an idea, come on in and we can help you get started by teaching you a machine or assisting with problem solving. In the studio, we have laser cutters, a vinyl cutter, sewing machines, and 3d printers. We also collect a whole variety of scrap foam, plastic, cardboard, and many more random knick knacks that encourage sustainable and reuse friendly making.

Open Hours

Our Open Hours shown in the live calendar below, are when Studio Design Partners (SDP), our student staff, are here to help you with your project – whether it is learning a tool, getting a tour of our space, or helping you with your design decisions. During Open Hours the prototyping studios are open to anyone, regardless if you have completed safety training. Outside of Open Hours, you will not have guaranteed staff support to answer questions.

The prototyping studio is open during our posted Open Hours and during 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Outside those times you will need to earn key card access, which can be gained after completing safety training. Head over to our safety training page to learn more!

Studio Design Partners

Our Prototyping Studio is lead by Studio Design Partners (SDPs), who are Smithies that embody all things making! They lead design projects, plan creative workshops for the campus, help to maintain a safe and creative making environment and enable student access to the Prototyping Studio through their Open Hours. Come on in and say hello to the SDPs!

Left to right:
Back row: Emily, Nermine, Emily, Annie, Millie, Kathy
Middle row: Bailey, Ariel, Juli, Erica
Front row: Margaret, Emma, Yuhan
Not pictured: Sydney, Katie

Subscribe to our mailing list to find out when we are hiring.
A group photo of the Design Thinking Partners. Left to right: Back row: Emily, Nermine, Emily, Annie, Millie, Kathy. Middle row: Bailey, Ariel, Juli, Erica. Front row: Margaret, Emma, Yuhan. Not pictured: Sydney, Katie


The Design Thinking Initiative hosts a wide range of workshops, including student staff led workshops, guest designer workshops, club workshops or bonding activities, and House tea events.

Do you have an idea for a workshop?

Please fill outthis formto book a workshop either using DTI supplies or hosted at DTI. If you are still vague on details of the workshop, we suggest you come to Design Thinking during the hours and day of week that you are planning to host the workshop so that you can greet the Studio Design Partners that are working at that time. If you still have questions, schedule an appointment with us. We will reply to your response with either a confirmation or suggestions if we cannot accommodate your idea.

Workshops you can request for your house include:

  • Jewelry Making
  • Notebook Making
  • Painting
  • Collaging
  • Hand Sewing

Did you host a workshop with DTI?

Please fill outthis post-workshop survey so we can continue to best support student-led workshops in the future.

Take Action

Meet With Us

Sign up for a time to meet with our staff for project consultation, technical help, or anything else! We can talk about how to advance your making project with materials you might find around the house, or about how the studio could help you fabricate your project. You can also sign up software support and remote making access.


Check Out Tools

Check out books and specific tools for a project, or curricular activity.

Information & FAQ

  • Capen Annex is unlocked when there is staff present. There is professional staff during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and student staff throughout the evening until 9:30 p.m.  
  • Student Staffing schedule is subject to change. Please check the live schedule for current staffed hours. 

  • Open Hours are when our dedicated SDPs are available to assist you with your projects.
  • SDPs provide guidance on equipment use, studio safety, and conduct workshops to enhance your skills. 
  • Look for them in a tie-dye apron!

  • The upstairs prototyping studio, equipped with laser cutters and hand tools, is accessible only when staff is present.
  • Please check the Open Hours schedule to ensure staff availability before using this studio.

  • Please note that we are closed during holidays and breaks. Access to the facility will not be available during these periods.

  • To gain additional access privileges, watch our safety training video or attend a safety tour.
  • After completing the training, take the safety training quiz on our website.
  • Passing the quiz will grant you key card access to the downstairs maker studio from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., even when staff is not present.

  • The classroom space may be occupied with classes, meetings, or workshops, restricting access during those times.

We are no longer giving out OneCard access to the upstairs room. Our upstairs prototyping studio is locked outside of open hours because of potentially dangerous power tools and laser cutters live there. You can access it during Open Hours only.

Who do I talk to if I have a question or need help?

We encourage you to scroll through our website to see if you can find your answer there! If not, come to our Open Hours and a Studio Design Partner may be able to assist you on your question or learn how to use something in our studio.

If you have a longer question or want specific advice on a project build, schedule an appointment to talk with us further. 

For learning equipment, we recommend that you keep coming during open hours to use the machine until you are comfortable with operating it on your own. 

you can email us at

What materials can I use and do I have to bring my own? How much material can I use?

Most of the materials on display are free to use. Our materials are shared by everyone so please use materials responsibly and do not use more than you need. Please do not use our designated library books as collaging material.

We can't support the mass production of sold products. If you are planning on making customized one-off products, please purchase your own materials and give priority to other uses of equipment.

If you are using a large quanity of our studio materials for your project, please submit a project award first. 

Do you accept material donations? 

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 email us. 

I have a great idea—do you provide funding?

Yes, on the For Students page of our website, under Project Awards, you can learn more about this. 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.

What tools and equipment are available? Can I borrow some of them? Can I borrow books?

Our main tools are 3D printers, laser cutters, a vinyl cutter, a drill press, and sewing machines. You can check out the specifics on the Tutorials & Equipment page on our website. We also have the Adobe Creative Cloud, Rhino, and Corel Draw installed on our computers.

For tools that you would like to check out, go to the Design Thinking Initiative Tool Library to take a look. Yes, you can check out a sewing machine and our books as well! You will need to create an account and your selected book, equipment, or supply will be processed by our staff and be ready for you to collect in our pick up bin by the main door when you receive an email notification.

Can I print things out here?

We have a standard copy printer stocked with colored paper, card stock (limited supply). We also have a 3D printer, laser cutter, and a vinyl cutter. Anything that is bigger or different than that can be printed with our partners at Paradise Copies.

We don't have a t-shirt printer or a sticker printer.

Is there a projector?

Yes, we have a projector in the classroom (downstairs, Room 101). The screen descends from the far window wall of the classroom and the projector remote control is generally kept on the small square rolling table next to the white door.

Where do I store my projects? 

We are very limited in space at the DTI, so please do not store your projects on the work tables. There is a project storage shelf in the classroom and right when you walk up the stairs.

Please label every project with your Name, Email, Date, and Pick Up Date

At the end of the semester we will throw out any unclaimed objects. So please come pick them up!

What workshops does the DTI host and how I can find out about them?

The DTI hosts many workshops throughout the year. Workshops depend on the time of year and what our Studio Design Partners are planning. Some examples include pumpkin carving, holiday gift making, repairs fair, and printmaking.

Find out when our workshops are happening by subscribing to our mailing list or by browsing the Smith Social Network.

I have an idea for a workshop, can you help coordinate it?

Possibly! If you want to work out the details of it, schedule an appointment to talk with us further. If it aligns with our current staffing and scheduling capabilities,  we might be able to help coordinate it. We’ve also allowed students, staff, and faculty to use our space and materials to host their own workshops. Please fill out the workshop form on the Studio and Hours page of our website to submit your request. 

Are there any classes I can take at DTI?

Check out the Courses section of our For Students page of our website which lists Design Thinking courses. 

How do I get more involved in DTI?

So many ways! We encourage you to come in during open hours to work on a creative project, become an expert in our equipment, come to our workshops, or take a class here! Subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated with us. You can also join our Slack channel to be a voice in our community.

How do I find opportunities like this out in the world? 

Great question! This depends on what you’re looking for, we suggest scheduling a time to meet with our Director, Emily Norton to discuss your interests in design and making beyond Smith. We also offer an incredible summer internship program in collaboration with the Wurtele Center for Leadership called Collaborative Leadership and Design Immersions and encourage you to check out the Overview on The Wurtele Center for Leadership’s Courses & Cohort Programs page.

Can community members use the design studio?

The studio is prioritized for Smith and not open for general community use, but equipment may be available for specific projects or collaborations.

Design Thinking - Capen Annex Photo_1

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