The Illinois MakerLab provides easy access to cutting edge technologies to enable experimentation with design and building or “Making” things. There are several other resources on and off campus which provide tools and space for “Making”. We profile some of those initiatives here and look forward to initiating conversations with them, to share ideas about their experiences in encouraging cross-discipplinary initiatives to help students learn by “Making”.
- Visualization Lab@ Beckman Institute – The Visualization Lab is conveniently hosted out of the Beckman Institute right here on campus (405 N. Matthews, Urbana)! For a monthly fee any student can gain access to “2D/3D/4D image analysis and quantification, scientific visualization, ultra-high speed video, macro-photography, macro-video, video production, 3D animation, high-resolution 2D scanning, 3D object scanning, full-color 3D printing, research presentation, publication graphics, and additional capabilities in support of imaging.” The Beckman Institute is one of the preeminent engineering research facilities in the country. As such, it represents an incredible opportunity for collaboration with U of I’s engineers.
- 3D Printing Lab at the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Students (CEMMS) at UIUC – This lab, also located right here on campus (1206 W. Green Street, Urbana), uses a chemical process that is a result of a project headed by Professor Nicholas Fang (details of the process are available on the website). According to the lab’s website, “Nano-CEMMS offers a wide variety of materials, workshops, fellowships, scholarships, research opportunities, and group meetings.”
- lIlinois Geometry Lab – This is another fabrication lab on campus, located in Altgeld Hall. The Geometry Lab focuses on serving students of, guess what, geometry. Undergrads, grads, and postdocs collaborate on projects that I’m sure generate some pretty cool 3D shapes: shapes that may even have practical value.
- CU FabLab – The Champaign-Urbana FabLab provides opportunities for students of all ages and all subjects to interact with technologies that will change the world, including 3D printing. The lab offers the option to purchase supplies or use scrap supplies free of charge. The FabLab is one of a global-network of FabLabs that seek to promote innovation and collaboration around the world.
- Critical Making Lab – The Critical Making lab is run out of the University of Toronto Faculty of Information. The lab’s mission is to provide “a shared space for opening up the practice of experimentation with embedded and material digital technology.” They plan to do this “through the sharing of results and an ongoing critical analysis of materials, designs, and outcomes, the lab participants together perform a practice-based engagement with the pragmatic and theoretical issues around information and information technology.”
- dFab at CMU – the Digital Fabrication Lab at Carnegie Mellon University is geared towards architecture, art, and design students. Students working at the lab have taken on several projects, including robotic and digital fabrication. The lab employs a Dimension 768-SST ABS Plastic Printer, allowing students to design and print full color models. By creating a collaborative atmosphere, the lab seeks to generate interdisciplinary synergies.
- 3D Print Club Mizzou – The club is a student organization at the University of Missouri focusing on expanding student access to 3D printing. The club sees 3D printing as an awesome new technology that’s going to shift the paradigm regarding customization. We at the MakerLab wholeheartedly agree and will be founding our own 3D printing RSO later this semester. We are also in touch with this chapter to share ideas on how to promote the “Maker” culture at Illinois.
- think[box] – think [box] is an innovation center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Engineering. The center provides learning opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni. think [box] seeks to “change the social culture of Case Western Reserve and Northeast Ohio by encouraging cross-department and cross-institution collaborative endeavors that push creativity and innovation to their limits.”
- ThinkLab – http://umwthinklab.com/ – The ThinkLab at the University of Mary Washington seeks to provide students with the opportunity to work with emerging technologies, including 3D printing. The feature the projects students have taken on. Along with our very own MakerLab, ThinkLab had the honor of being featured in the 2013 Horizon Higher Education Report, a review of imminent technological trends.
We encourage all our readers to reach out to resources on campus and also invite stakeholders from such spaces on and off campus to connect with us to share ideas.