Break to Make

An all women's makeathon

Join us for a weekend of building with kickass women (trans and non-binary friends included). Learn how to turn an idea into a product in just two days.

September 29-30, 2018 at USC

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What is Break to Make?

Break to Make is an opportunity for engineers and non-engineers alike to explore hardware tech in a fun, challenging, and supportive learning environment.

In just one weekend, build a project to solve one of our challenges with your team and guidance from mentors. Learn about the product design process and prototyping with Arduino and 3D printing workshops. Hear from speakers in the industry and close out the weekend by pitching your project to a panel of judges.

It was inspiring to be able to help some people and learn so much from others. In just one weekend, I saw my teammates and I gain self-confidence and a feeling that we have a place in the world of makers.

— Margaret

It was nice to see women really show their skills. In co-ed spaces there is are more men, so statistically the people who get to present their winning projects are just guys. Break to Make was great!

— Rena

What we all did was just as impressive as co-ed hackathons.

— Steph

Very open and friendly atmosphere, less intimidating for beginners.

— Maria

The Challenges

This year, we’ve created a handful of challenges to help you get started building.


How might we reduce food waste?


How might we create durable, sustainable shelter?


How might we increase access to transportation in LA?


How might we make learning more engaging?


How would you spend two days at a makeathon? We’ve outlined what the schedule could look like this year — as we get closer to the date, come back to check out more details on our workshops & speakers!


Day One

  1. 9:00-10:00 AM
    Opening Ceremonies

  2. 10:00-10:30 AM
    Product Design Workshop

  3. 10:30-12:00 PM

  4. 12:00-1:00 PM

  5. 1:00-3:00 PM

  1. 3:00-6:00 PM
    Prototyping Time

  2. 6:00-7:00 PM
    Guest Speaker

  3. 7:00-8:00 PM

  4. 8:00-10:00 PM
    Prototyping Time

  5. 8:00-10:00 PM
    Day One ends; overnight optional


Day Two

  1. 8:00-9:00 AM

  2. 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
    Final Build Time

  3. 12:00-1:00 PM

  4. 1:00-3:00 PM
    Pitch Competition

  5. 3:00-4:00 PM
    Closing Ceremonies


Project highlights from 2017 were IoT smart tables, 3D printed disaster relief bands, smart deadbolts, sustainable living spaces rendered in Unity, and more. Prizes included IoT boards and self-balancing robots. We’ve highlighted our winners below:

Fidget Desk

1st Place
A desk that generates energy while keeping students focused. Built with laser cut parts & springs.


2nd Place
A smart desk that increases class participation, made with a Particle Photon, 3D printed parts, and plywood.

Blue Key

3rd Place
A smart lock that opens dorm rooms with the tap of a phone, made with 3D printed parts and Arduino.

Past Sponsors & Partners

We’d like to highlight some of our biggest supporters from Break to Make 2017, without whom the makeathon would not have been possible. If you’re interested in supporting our Fall 2018 event, get in touch at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a makeathon?

A makeathon is a bit like a hackathon, where students from different schools and majors come to learn and build a project in 36 hours. The key difference is that Break to Make is focused on hardware — not just prototyping with Arduino but the whole process of tangible product design.

What can I build at a makeathon?

We’ll have materials & mentors to help you build just about anything! Project highlights from 2017 were IoT smart tables, 3D printed disaster relief bands, smart deadbolts, sustainable living spaces rendered in Unity, and more.

Who can come?

If you’re a woman, trans, or non-binary student at USC, you’re welcome to apply! Your experience and major don’t matter — if you want to learn how to build using the product design process and different prototyping tools, Break to Make is a great place to learn.

How much does it cost?

There are no costs to participating in Break to Make. If you're here to build, we'll take care of the food & materials at the event.

What should I bring?

While there is no fee to participate, we ask that you bring with your laptop & student ID. Also, come ready to tackle challenges over the weekend and excited to take an idea from start to finish.

Why all women?

It’s not that we don’t like working with guys, we promise. We’re big believers that all-women’s events are great spaces to learn from one another, build community, feel inspired and be empowered. We’d also like to give a huge shoutout to Athena Hacks and Own It, two amazing all-women’s events that happen yearly at USC.

What if I don't have a team?

While you can build alone, we encourage you to bring 3-4 friends to build a team project with you! If you apply alone, we'll form teams before the event and let you know who you'll be making with.

What tools and materials will be available?

If you would like to see a specific part or device at the makeathon, you can request it on your application and we'll do our best to accomodate! When applications open, we'll include a list of parts for you to look through.

Is there a Code of Conduct?

Yes! You can find the Break to Make Code of Conduct here. By applying, you agree to abide by the code.

Unanswered question?

If you have a burning question that we haven’t covered (or if you just want to say hi), feel free to shoot us an e-mail at