Design thinking is all about developing a knack for using materials and tools to make ideas clearer and process more creative and collaborative. We are curating tools for making that can be used as part of your creative process, in the classroom, or at our space in Capen Annex.
We’ve assembled kits and equipment that you can borrow from Capen Annex or Neilson Library.

3Doodler 3D Pen
What it is: A portable pen for sketching or building structures in 3D . It works like a glue gun.
What you need: Pick up some filaments along with the 3Doodler
Ultimaker 3D Printer
What it is: A device that created 3D structures out of digital models.
What you need The software for sending files to the printer is Cura, accepted file types are STL, OBJ, DAE and AMF. Bring a pre-made 3D object file or some knowledge of 3D modeling. See for a library of free objects. Directions and tutorials available, contact For use in Capen Annex only.

Sense Handheld 3D Scanner

What it is: Scanner that reproduces a physical object as a digital 3D model.
What you need: Patience!
Epilog Zing Laser Cutter
What it is: A “printer” that engraves or cuts graphics and/or text into wood, acrylic, paper, and metal.
What you need: The software for sending images to the printer is CorelDraw. AutoCad files must be converted to DXL, WMF, EPS, PLT for reliable printing with CorelDraw. We have acrylic, cardboard, and various types of wood for use. Do not put any materials containing vinyl (PVC) in the cutter. Directions and tutorials available, contact For use in Capen Annex only.
Roland GS-24 Vinyl Cutter
What it is: A sharp blade that etches graphics and text into vinyl stickers to create decals and labels.
What you need: Log in using the vinyl cutter account. There is transfer tape (beige masking tape) available for sticking intricate patterns. Directions and tutorials available, contact
ipad-and-penciliPad and Apple Pencil
What it is: A pencil shaped stylus for sketching on iPad.
What you need: Make sure you charge the pencil before returning it.
Lilypad Arduino
What it is: An kit for making wearable electronics.
What you need Conductive thread is provided in the kit. Some knowledge of sewing and circuits is good but not required. The Makerspace club offers tutorials.
Sewing Machine
What it is: A Singer sewing machine with multiple stitch settings.
What you need: We have black and white thread and limited choices of fabric, bring your own fabric and thread for special projects. For use in Capen Annex only.
SparkFun Inventors’ Kit
What it is: A set of electronic components for creating interactive objects. Details on contents of the kit can be found at
What you need: We also have soldering equipment. Join the Makerspace student-run Club for tutorials.
What it is: An extension lens for iPhone and iPad with Fisheye, Wide-angle and Macro (10x and 15x).
What you need:
A phone.
Nikon 1 J5 Digital Camera
What it is: Nikon 1 J5 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10-30mm Lens, NIKKOR 40mm Lens, Rechargeable Battery + Charger, Neutral Density Filter, MicroSDHC Memory Card + MicroSD Adapter
What you need:
MicroSD card port or wifi capability for data transfer
Polaroid ZIP Photo Printer
What it is: A portable photo printer for creating 2X3″ Polaroid ZIP photographs taken on your smartphone.
What you need: Pick up some photo paper when you pick up the printer. Download the Polaroid ZIP app (iOS and Android).

Backdrop (Green Screen) by LimoStudio
What it is: Tripods and rods for assembling an adjustable height (max 8.5 feet) and width (5 to 10 feet) backdrop. Makes a green screen.
What you need:
Comes with black, white, and green backdrop canvas. If you want to use your own backdrop this can easily be done with shower curtain rods.
Audio Technica ATH-M50X Headphones

What it is: Studio quality headphones.
What you need: Standard audio jack.
Sony Audio Recorder
What it is: A recorder for interviews, music, or sound projects.
What you need: Be sure to save your data before returning the device.
Hand Tools
What it is: A set of hand tools: hammers, screwdrivers, drill and driver sets, hand saws, socket set, clamps, heat gun, nails etc.
What you need: For use in Capen Annex only.

“I am using my idea kit quite regularly and frankly just having it makes me think of ways to use the materials!” Suzanne Gottschang, Faculty in Anthropology

Using Idea Kits in the Classroom

an extended example designed by

Suzanne Gottschang, Faculty in Anthropology

“I have found the kit very useful for brainstorming exercises but my most successful use of the kit centered on an exercise we did with the cultural anthropology textbooks that I had lent the students at the beginning of the semester.

Intro to Cultural Anthro textbooks are too expensive to adopt, but they are useful for students to have to flesh out lectures and learn new vocabulary. So this year, I borrowed free sample textbooks from my colleagues and lent one to each student. They are all different or at least different editions but contain the same basic information.

I wanted the students to study their textbook’s readings on economics and exchange. I had created five broad themes in this area that I wanted us to cover. In class, I wrote each theme on a large poster post-it and hung these around the classroom. The students formed groups and I assigned each group one of the topics. I gave each group a colored marker as well. Then, consulting their textbooks and comparing answers, each group wrote one key point on the topic on their poster. Then they switched topics and repeated the process. We circulated so that each group wrote on each topic – in their own colored marker. When the groups returned to the topic they started at, they had to look at what had been written and assess whether it had been 1) adequately covered and 2) whether all posts were accurate.

The discussions, use of the textbooks and general buzz in the classroom was fantastic. They loved it and they learned without me having to lecture on these topics.”