Looking Back and Moving Forward

2013 was a busy year in the World’s First Business School 3D Printing Lab and the New Year promises to be even busier. Here are some highlights of what we’ve done thus far and the new initiatives on our agenda:

2013 Highlights

  • In February, the MakerLab opened with six 3D printers in a 300 square foot space in the Surveying Building. In September, the Lab moved to its new location in the Business Instructional Facility. Our new Lab is over 500 square feet and is equipped with twelve 3D printers, six computers, three 3D scanners, and a 70 inch monitor. We are grateful to Dean Larry DeBrock for his support of our lab and for providing us this great new space.
  • During 2013, our lab hosted over 1,000 users (walk-ins and at special events), who printed over 100 pounds of thermoplastic. This is equivalent to 2,500 iPhone cases! During this time we put over 5000 hours on our printers.
  • Our Lab was selected as one of four destinations on campus to host key donors during the recent U of I Foundation Weekend.
  • We received a $6,900 Innovation Grant from Procter & Gamble and a $1,000 donation from an alum who works for JP Morgan.
  • We offered a series of free workshops on such topics as How to Create 3D Designs, How to Scan Objects with your iPhone and How to Create your Own Electronics.
  • We formed an Advisory Board. Our first two board members are Erwin Cruz (Director of Innovation for Grainger) and Zach Kaplan (Founder and CEO of Inventables).
  • We received a significant amount Media Coverage.
  • Finally, we also made several interesting things and featured some Makers as well.

2014 Initiatives

  • We will be giving presentations about our Lab at key alumni events in Phoenix & Tucson, Arizona and Naples, Florida.
  • We will open a MakerLab Store, which will sell objects printed in our lab.
  • We plan to hold a 3D printing conference on campus in either late April or early May.
  • We will be teaching an innovative new course ("Making Things"). This course will be taught in our lab and will ask teams of students from business, engineering and design to conceptualize, design, prototype, manufacture, and market a new object.

We are thankful for the support that we have received from faculty, students, alumni, and friends. We are happy that we have been able to make an important impact during our first year as the World’s First 3D Printing Lab and look forward to what the new year will bring!