Volunteer Spotlight- Tony Kim

The MakerLab volunteers are a really important part of the lab. They help day to day welcoming makers, and assist with workshops and fixing printers. Today, we will introduce you to one of our volunteers, Tony Kim!

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Tony is a junior here at Illinios studying business and statistics. Tony found out about the MakerLab though a course taught by MakerLab co-director Vishal Sachdev. After hearing Vishal talk about the lab, Tony joined as a volunteer because everything looked so cool. Tony’s favorite part about the lab varied as the semester has progressed. Towards the beginning Tony loved to learn how to fix the printers, but now that he knows how to 3D print Tony has taken on the challenge of finding and creating his own models to print. Tony is one of our most involved volunteers at the MakerLab. He is a part of connecting all 3D printing labs across campus, helping to write blogs for our website and has just recently joined our social media team to manage the YouTube channel. So be on the lookout for his first video coming soon on what exactly is 3D printing. Tony would like to help spread awareness of 3D printing to students who are not actively pursuing a STEM major. To kick off his goal Tony 3D printed his own Phantom of the Opera mask to show off to his friends during Halloween! We will be sad to see Tony and all of his enthusiasm leave at the end of this semester as he will return to Korea University. But the MakerLab spirit will live on as Tony hopes to start a MakerLab there! Good luck Tony!


Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Snapchat(uimakerlab), Twitter or Instagram. Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu!

Meet the Maker- Nathan

With 55 fraternities, 36 sororities and over a fourth of the student population involved in Greek life it’s hard not to know someone in a fraternity or sorority. Recently, we had the opportunity to get to know someone new involved in a fraternity on campus. Nathan stopped by the lab to print something for his fraternity, Chi Epsilon. Chi Epsilon is the National Honors Society for Civil Engineering. Students are chosen to join this fraternity based on 4 traits that Chi Epsilon considers important in order to be a successful engineer. Those four traits are Scholarship, Character, Practicality, and Sociability. Once students are chosen based on these four traits they enter the initiation phase of joining the fraternity. Initiation is the process of learning the mission, values, other members and history of the fraternity. At the end of the initiation process new members become official pledges of the fraternity. Nathan decided to come to the MakerLab to print something that would make the end of initiation a memorable time. He 3D designed and printed a box that could be opened with a key. The opening of the box signifies the end of initiation and the first steps in being a full member of the fraternity. You’ll have to join Chi Epsilon to see this box in live action! Or you can settle on viewing some pictures below.


Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Snapchat(uimakerlab),  Twitter or Instagram. Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu!

Volunteer Spotlight- Yuxuan Tang

The MakerLab volunteers are a really important part of the lab. They help day to day welcoming makers, and assist with workshops and fixing printers. Today, we will introduce you to one of our volunteers, Yuxuan Tang!

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Yuxuan is a junior here at Illinois studying Accounting. He first found the MakerLab through an accounting class he took his sophomore year. Yuxuan decided to join the MakerLab team because he loved the fact that you can make your dream creations come true. As a volunteer here, Yuxuan has been able to see this in action multiple times through both seeing what others print at the lab and also through his own prints and ideas. One such creation of his has been a great success in the lab. Yuxuan was able to think of a simple yet very helpful solution in keeping our filament wheels nice and neat. The filament that we use comes in large rolls like ribbon. And also like ribbon it is very easy to lose the start of the roll. To solve this simple problem, Yuxuan designed a wheel clip using SketchUp that would allow you to thread the start of the filament through to prevent it from getting lost in the whole wheel. It turned out to be a huge success and great help in keeping out lab clean and frustration free!


Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter or Instagram. Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu!

Guru Interview- Linxi Liu

The MakerLab gurus are a really important part of the lab. They manage the lab by helping day to day makers set up prints, facilitate with workshops and fixing printers. We had the opportunity to interview one of our gurus, Linxi Liu, and now we will share her story with you.

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Q. How did you first find the Illinois MakerLab?

A. About a year and a half ago, I took a Fusion 360 workshop offered by the MakerLab. It was in this workshop that I first got introduced to 3D printing and the opportunities offered at the MakerLab. I really enjoyed this workshop and signed on as a volunteer at the MakerLab the next semester.

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Q. What made you to decide to work at MakerLab?

A. I found it cool and I wanted to learn more about it. After being a volunteer for the first year, I was offered a position of a guru. I accepted because it offered me a change to have more responsibility and opportunities in the lab. As a guru, I help facilitate workshops, run our online ordering systems and I am constantly talking to customers whether they come into the MakerLab or if it’s through our online orderingsystem.

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Q. What is your main job here?

A. My main job is to make sure that the lab is operating smoothly. I help students and faculty set up prints and answer any questions they may have about 3D printing. I also deal with 3D hub orders which is our online ordering system that we get a lot of big orders from external customers.

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Q. What is the best part of working in the lab?

A. The best part is meeting and talking to other volunteers and gurus at the lab. It is a great opportunity to talk with many different people with different background. I also enjoy talking with people who visit our lab. From alumni to students to faculty everyone has a story about why they came into the lab and I love hearing it!

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Q. What are some improvement that lab should have?

A. The printers. I really hope some of the printers get fixed because we have a couple that have been out of order for a while.

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Q. Any last things to say?

A. I hope any students who are interested in 3D printing visit our lab. I am always there to help you guys!


Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter or Instagram. Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu!

Wood Printing at the Lab

There are many different things to consider when starting your print. Things such as print size or density and even filament. Choosing what filament to use when printing isn't always what color you want your print to be. Sometimes it's what type of filament to use. There are plenty of filaments to choose: from metal to carbon fiber to flexible to plastic. Each filament has a different finish and has its own tips/tricks to use when printing. Here at the lab we most commonly print with PLA, polylactic acid. PLA is a vegetable based biodegradable plastic filament that produces nice, clean prints. Check out the results of some prints printed with PLA.

Something new we are trying at the lab this year is wood printing! Volunteer, Karthik Subramaniam, was interested in wood printing and if we would be able to do it at the lab. As it turns out that answer is yes! The wood filament Karthik tried is actually a combination of PLA and wood particles. As a result, it prints almost exactly the same as PLA does. There are just a few minor changes that needed to be made. One change involves the speed of the print. Wood filament is best printed at slower speeds allowing the filament more time to cool before another layer is added on top of it. This helps prevent any mishaps as the model is being printed. Another change is the layer height of the print. Layer height is how much material is being printed at each layer. With PLA we commonly use a layer height of 2mm, but with the wood filament it is recommended to use a layer height of 3mm. When Karthik tried out these small changes the final products looked amazing.


Stop by the lab to try out wood printing yourself! Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Snapchat(uimakerlab) and Instagram!

Hearts for Carle College of Medicine

The University of Illinois is proud to be opening Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Olivia Coiado, a teaching assistant professor within the college, explains that this is the first college of medicine in the nation that is specifically designed to blend engineering and medicine together. This new college is looking at revolutionizing health by making students physician innovators. Students will learn how engineering and technology can be used to easily solve complex healthcare related problems.To showcase this new college they are hosting a series of open houses throughout the next year. At each open house, participants will leave with a 3D printed heart printed by the MakerLab! We are printing 75 hearts a month for these different open houses and are even hosting some of them. At our open house, we plan to explain how 3D printing can be used within the medical field. From 3D printed casts to teeth implants the possibilities are endless. We are very excited to partner with Carle College of Medicine to be able to explain how 3D printing and technology can blend with medicine to create new innovations and discoveries.  


Check out our other stories! Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Snapchat(uimakerlab) and Instagram!