Corporate makerspaces have become little-known leaders in innovation, workforce development, and creativity, and are also often the starting point for corporate additive manufacturing adoption.
Audrey Van de Castle is the Industry 4.0 Upskilling and Maker Initiatives Manager at Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., and while she is an advocate for all tools and manufacturing methods, she has been an educator and advocate for 3D printing since she first laid eyes on it in 2014. Audrey is a Baltimore native and started her career in making by studying metalworking and blacksmithing at Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts.
After graduating, she managed The Foundery (a makerspace in south Baltimore) for four years before coming on at Stanley Black & Decker to start and run their first ever Makerspace. Recently, she has expanded her role at Stanley Black & Decker, maintaining high-level management of their Makerspace and taking responsibility for upskilling 30,000 plant employees with Industry 4.0 skills. Audrey also sits on the board of A Workshop of Our Own in Baltimore as well as the advisory board for the Digital Fabrication major at Carrol County Community College.
Mara Hitner: Audrey, could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?
Audrey Van De Castle: I started learning about 3D printing back in 2014 when I was in the process of turning the makerspace (which was mostly welding and metalworking) I managed into a full-blown makerspace with all the capabilities you can imagine. We were moving into a space 20 times the size of our previous space, so we had room to expand our offerings.
I was really impressed with just how easy it was to pick up and learn on consumer printers and with resources like Thingiverse, and I began teaching it as a skill in 2015! The first printers I ever used were the FlashForge Dreamers, and currently I am working with a Lulzbot TAZ6, Prusa MK3S, and a Desktop Metal studio system. I generally print in PLA – because it is so easy! I have done printing in some unusual materials like carbon fiber, and I love using the Desktop Metal system to print in stainless steel.
Mara Hitner: What is Stanley Black and Decker Industry 4.0 Upskilling and Maker Initiatives and what is the story behind it?
Audrey Van De Castle: My role at Stanley Black & Decker is pretty cool. I started with the company in 2017 to open their first employee Makerspace in Baltimore, MD and moved to managing the Makerspace as well as a crowd-sourced innovation program. Now I have high-level management of the Makerspace as well as working with our manufacturing population (30,000 people!) to structure and implement how they will learn Industry 4.0 skills and incorporate them into their work processes – like 3D printing! Stanley Black & Decker also has a Corporate Social Responsibility pillar around Empowering Makers – so I am closely tied with many activities related to that.
Our goal is to empower 10 million makers by the year 2030!
Read the rest at Women in 3D Printing