Employee Spotlight: Rachel Kuehr

Right before school let out for the summer, we conducted an interview with one of the Illinois MakerLab’s dedicated gurus, Rachel Kuehr. Rachel is a rising junior studying Supply Chain Management in the Gies College of Business. We were interested to learn about why Rachel loves working at the Illinois MakerLab. 

What are your responsibilities when working the Illinois MakerLab?

I manage open hours, and help people start prints. I love when people come in with cool ideas and I get to help them 3D print it. I also 3D-print online orders, through our online ordering system. 

How did you get involved with the Illinois MakerLab?

I truly just thought it was interesting and signed up to volunteer. It is one of my favorite RSO’s I am in on campus. The passion for 3D printing then expanded to my entire family. My brother is currently doing a research position that involves 3D printing at the University of Illinois. 

What is your favorite part about working in the Illinois MakerLab?

I love seeing the awesome ideas that people come in with. There are some really cool buildings that are designed by architecture students. My favorite is watching someone’s idea come to life. 

What are some of the coolest objects that you have seen be 3D printed?

I really like the life size, 3D printed man that we have in the Illinois Maker Lab. (Come take a selfie anytime!) Recently, a red 20-foot-long chain was printed. It is interesting because while 3D printing is fun, it can also be useful.

 Pictured is Rachel holding the 20 foot-long-chain!

Pictured is Rachel holding the 20 foot-long-chain!

Meet the Maker- Sasha Tetzlaff

People 3D print objects for all sorts of things. They print for fun, for education, or even for prototyping. University of Illinois Ph.D. student Sasha Tetzlaff and his advisors, Brett DeGregorio and Jinelle Sperry are using 3D printing to preform research. Sasha originally came to the MakerLab looking to print about 100 turtles to help in their research. These 3D printed turtles were then placed in a field after being painted to mimic the Eastern Box Turtles. With video cameras mounted above the models, Sasha, Brett, and Jinelle were able to determine what animals are predators to the turtles. Eastern Box Turtles are very elusive but known to suffer high mortality from predators, so knowing who the predators are can aid in future management efforts. The first time they place the 3D printed turtles into the field it was almost immediately attacked by a raccoon! Now the team knows that raccoons are a major predator to the Eastern Box Turtles and can go about helping to protect the turtles in the future!

Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by subscribing to our newsletter, 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- Mitch Altman

Anyone can learn to solder! It's fun, it's easy, and it's useful. Mitch Altman, San-Francisco based hacker and inventor and UIUC alumnus, has taught tens of thousands of people to solder around the world. Just recently here in Champaign! Participants of all ages came to learn the basics of electronics, and how to make cool things! But most importantly, Mitch shows people how to use his invention: the TV-B-Gone universal remote control. This simple and powerful device can turn off almost any TV in public places, and do so up to 50 meters away. It's effective! It's safe! It's a fun unique way to turn TVs off. Below is a video of Mitch's remote in actions!

Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by subscribing to our newsletter, 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!


#WeAreGies. This hashtag has been trending for months at the University of Illinois. Why you might ask? Last year, CEO of Madison Industries, Larry Gies, donated 150 million dollars to the school of business. Sparking the naming of the school to the Gies College of Business. And now the Gies College of Business is welcoming the class of 2022 to the campus! Just last Saturday, 250 prospect freshman for Fall 2018 came to Illinois to learn more about the college of business as a whole! And when they got there? Each participant received a 3D printed keychain with #WeAreGies printed on it printed by yours truly, the Illinois MakerLab! Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment, Kelly Janssen, contacted us about 2 weeks before the event with a request to print 250 dual color keychains. We got off to a rough start struggling to get the keychains to print without curling on the edges but with the addition of a  brim we were. By utilizing all 3 of our Ultimaker 3's we were able to crank out this order in no time! We hope all prospect freshman enjoy their keychains! #WeAreGies!

Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by subscribing to our newsletter, liking us on Facebook, or following us on Snapchat(uimakerlab),  Twitter or Instagram. Need a bulk order of your item printed? Contact us and we will help you get started!

Meet the Maker- Fritz

"The thing about being a designer is that the attitude and curiosity don’t retire."

- Charles Danielson (AKA Fritz)

Fritz may be retired from his job as an Art and Design Educator but his imagination and passion for 3D printing never stops. Fritz is a University of Illinois Alum after attending school here for both his bachelor's degree in Industrial Design and master's in Graphic Design. Fritz first found our lab through our series of workshops. There he learned the possibilities of what 3D printing can do! Afterwards, he let his imagination run wild and started using SketchUp to design his own models. Recently he designed a phone holder for his car that would rest on the dash board beyond the steering wheel so that he can drive hands free but still be able to see his screen. This is extremely useful when using Google Maps! This is only one of Fritz's many designs that he has made over the years and we hope to see him in the lab soon to print another!

Stay tuned for MakerLab updates by subscribing to our newsletter, 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!

Digital Making Week 2 Reflection

As the Spring 2018 Semester takes off so does Professor Vishal's Digital Making Course! Below is a reflection by student Ajie Mathew about week 2 of this course. 

Guest Lecturer

At the start of week 2, the class was privileged to hear from John Hornick, a Finnegan lawyer who isa  litigator and counselor with broad experience across the intellectual property practice. More than that, he authored the book, “3D Printing Will Rock the World.”   John closely follows the 3D industry and advises his clients about the intellectual property issues surrounding this rapidly developing technology and how they may affect their businesses. Though we were only able to video-conference him, we all learned a great deal from this expert.



John taught us how 3D printing is flipping traditional manufacturing’s business model on its head. This model depends on mass production, economies of scale, and low labor costs, which are major barriers for competitors. 3D printing, however, eliminates these barriers because just one machine can produce an entire product and needs only a fraction of the labor. Furthermore, it brings the marginal cost down to nearly zero – John taught us that whether you print 1 jet engine, or 100,000 bolts for jet engines – the fixed cost of production would stay the same. He showed us how modern-day innovators were printing actual engines, full-sized cars and motorcycles, and even human organs. It was truly insightful to John’s wisdom. He taught us that given the highly unregulated and complex nature of securing intellectual property rights for virtual design, it’s nearly impossible to control who prints what.



Learning & Skills Objectives

During this week, our learning objectives included learning from what others have made/shared, as well as forming team names and brainstorming logo ideas.

The class spent time on a variety of online design databases: including Thingiverse, TinkerCAD, and Pinshape, just to name a few. We found that each site had a particular theme to it. For example, TinkerCAD had a lot of complex mechanics/tooling designs. On the other hand, Thingiverse was much more light-hearted, with models much more accessible to kids of all ages. As a class, we pored through these sites, finding interesting designs and sharing what we liked, what we disliked, and how we would further innovate with each other.



Finally, Professor Sachdev sorted us into our semester project teams. Many of us had to take a few days to come up with our team names. We have a lot of creativity in the class – just to name a few: Synergy, Money Makers, Fast Foward, Animakers, etc. Beyond simply naming our team, we were all tasked with creating a logo to 3D print in the following week. This was easy enough on paper, but we will see what happens when we upload onto an actual printer!



(PC: Aubrey Haskett)

Readings Reviewed

We had three readings that we reviewed this week. The first was entitled “How to Make Almost Anything” by Neil Gershenfeld. Neil discusses the newest digital revolution that is coming upon us, in fabrication. He writes about how communities should not fear or ignore digital fabrication – they can be used to educate, innovate, and breathe life into communities. Next, we read “The Maker Mindset” by Dale Dougherty. Dale discusses a crucial mentality that our class needs to develop – the Maker Mentality.

This is a kind of mindset that teaches people – especially students – to few problems not as static, but dynamic. This mindset creates a platform for students to ‘create’ new solutions to problems using innovative thinking strategies – all made possible through the 3D-printing revolution! Finally, we watched a video called “The Birth of Desktop Printing” with Matt Griffin which highlights the slow process that brought desktop printers (ex: Ultimaker) to the forefront of the consumer markets.



Overall, the three resources for Week 2 helped lay a solid foundation us to understand what 3D printing is, where it came from, and where it can go.

Student Reflections

As a class, we found Week 2 of BADM395: Making Things to be incredibly insightful. One student’s sentiments captures our thoughts well, “I don’t understand how these milestones have been happening under my nose. Owning the means of production used to be a privilege reserved for the rich, but now everyone can print from their home with this technology. The consumer’s changing relationship with traditional manufacturing is fueling the maker movement. (Rindler). Traditional consumers are evolving into prosumers all around us – we are now a part of this revolution.



As we progress into this class, the class is collectively excited to gain more hands-on experience as we expand our ‘maker mentalities’. In class to date, we’ve gained a lot of contextual and expert information on the industry and trends. Starting next week, we will have a crash-course in online modeling, the Cura software, and have a chance to actually print the team logos we planned this week.  We will have the opportunity to use our minds (and our machines) to bringsomething forward from nothing. Who knows, we may all end up with only melted piles of plastic after our first print – either way, we are extremely excited to see what the future holds this semester!