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Each semester, Be a Maker (BeAM) hosts a showcase of the innovations made possible by technologies and tools at Carolina’s makerspace network. 

Before the Carolina community geared up for final exams last semester, Tar Heel makers gathered for MakerFest to exhibit and explore creations engineered at BeAM, UNC’s makerspace network administered by the applied physical sciences department in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

A crowd gathers around tables spread out in a large room in the Carolina Union. On the tables are projects created in the makerspaces at UNC.

A crowd of Tar Heels filled the Great Hall of the Carolina Union on Dec. 5, 2023, to display and discuss projects created during the fall semester using BeAM’s state-of-the-art offerings, which include 3D-printing, woodworking, laser cutting and embroidery, among others.

Students gather around a table to look at a project at MakerFest.

BeAM is open to the entire Carolina community, including students, faculty and staff members. The mission of BeAM is to empower all Tar Heels to reach their full making potential.

A student holds a small, 3D-printed object and chats about it with curious onlookers.

When building their Makerspace innovations, Carolina creators had their choice of four makerspace locations across UNC’s campus: Murray Hall, Hanes Art Center, Carmichael Hall and the partner makerspace in Kenan Science Library. BeAM is currently working with Rehab Medicine at UNC Medical Center’s Hillsborough hospital to launch an off-campus makerspace. 

A student looks at a large MakerFest project, which has been assembled from a satellite dish with a smiling face drawn on it.

Makers of all levels and experience are encouraged to participate at MakerFest. Creations range from personal projects to research prototypes to course-required builds. 

Two women play a board game that features a drawing of the human brain.

This fall, approximately 350 makers exhibited 130 projects, including many collaborative group projects. Past MakerFest entries have included a handmade Baroque-style guitar, a medication organizer designed for people with ADHD, laser-cut game boards and an enhanced zipper created for people with dexterity limitations. 

Two students lean into a project at MakerFest to conduct an experiment.

Alongside the opportunity for Tar Heels to show their semester’s work, MakerFest also invites creators to enter their projects for consideration for Audience Choice and Judges’ Choice awards. Prizes are generously provided by RYOBI Tools. 

A student shows a small 3D-printed object at MakerFest.

“Whether you’re a researcher or an entrepreneur or you’re working on a personal project, we really want to be able to support people in designing and making their ideas,” said Anna Engelke, education program manager at BeAM. 


Photos by Donn Young
Text by Jess Abel, College of Arts and Sciences 

Learn more about BeAM and stay tuned for the spring 2024 MakerFest at  

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