Become a PI
What It Means To Be a PI
Prototyping Instructors, known as PIs, are the foundation of the Invention Studio.
We are student volunteers who know how to properly operate the tools of the Flowers Invention Studio, and we staff the space to guide users on how to create their personal projects. Every PI staffs 3 hours a week, which is how we are able to open our doors to the whole of Georgia Tech for all of their personal projects!
Every PI goes through the same training process as described below, with no prior knowledge or major required!
1. Download Materials
To become a PI, you have to demonstrate that you know how to safely and confidently operate the tools and equipment that we use every day. We use our skills checklist as a way to keep track of your experience on our tools. Don't get too intimidated if you don't know the terminology in this checklist yet, we are here to teach you how to use these tools!
Note: While you work through the checklist you will interact with some files. Here they are for reference.
2. Learn Tools
At the Invention Studio, we're all about learning. Just approach any PI wearing an armband, mention that you are working on your checklist, and ask for training!
We also have dedicated "After Hours PI Training" during the week. This time is reserved just for people like you to easily complete their trainings, but you also can come during regular operational hours.
Trainings, unlike tests, can be done in any order! It doesn't matter if you have done your wood training before you want to do your laser training.
We also have a series of online training videos that will give you a base familiarity with the tools before you come to the Studio, but nothing can replace getting your hands on the tool.
3. Complete Tests
Now that you know the basics of operating our tools and equipment, it's time to demonstrate what all you've picked up! When you are ready to show us your skills, let the PI on duty know that you'll be doing the checklist. If you can make the test part correctly and safely, the PI will sign off on your checklist. If you don't quite get it, the PI will retrain you and invite you to retry the test the next day. Some tests build upon parts produced in other tests, so check with this flow chart to make sure you don't try to do them out of order!
4. Culture Fit Interview
Once you finish your checklist, we'll schedule an interview with you to see if you have the soft skills and character traits we see in some of our most successful PIs. This interview usually lasts about 30 minutes, and you'll be speaking to current PIs about why you are interested in the space and what you think you'll bring to the table. Please don't stress about this! It feels more like a conversation with your peers than a job interview.
5. Shadow as a Provisional
After a successful interview, you are elevated to the status of Provisional PI. During your time as a Provisional PI, you shadow full PIs, which gives you an opportunity to learn more about the space and how you can best help users.
We provide a Full PI Checklist that lists many of the tools that the Flowers Invention Studio has that go beyond the requirements of the Provisional Checklist. You do not need to complete all of this checklist. You only have to complete the required sections. Throughout your Provisional PI period, you will also gain confidence in how to properly staff a room at the Flowers Invention Studio in a way that keeps everyone safe and successful.
This shadowing period lasts one to two months, after which point you will blossom out of your Provisional cocoon into the the full PI butterfly that you are inside!
6. Full PI Interview
This final interview consists of a series of mini-tests on the more advanced tools of the studio. You don't have to make specific parts, but rather just demonstrate your understanding of how to use the tools safely and effectively. Being a PI isn't just about understanding tools though, you should also be prepared to think outside the box! Often users come into the studio with just a vision of a finished product, and you need to understand the capabilities of the space well enough to direct them to the right series of tools to make their dream into a reality.
What You'll Make