#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!

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! 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! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Snapchat(uimakerlab) and Instagram!

Pygmalion Tech Demo


We were honored to participate in the Pygmalion Tech Demo hosted at Krannert Center a few weeks ago. As you can imagine, this demo involved hundreds of newly inspired ideas from prototypes to demo stages to upcoming new technology. Some projects include HTC VR glasses (virtual reality glasses), a new video game called Agents of Mayhem, the Makergirls, an electronic accordion and many more! Everyone was showcasing their products and most tables were running demos making it a very hands on event. The hope of the Pygmalion Demo was to make people more aware of the different forms of technology that they may not have known even existed. The MakerLab was there to promote creating your own ideas and printing them into reality. We had a 3D printer printing MakerLab keychains and a bunch of cool 3D printed parts to showcase to visitors!

One of our gurus at the event, Linxi, was kind enough to share a story about a visitor that was interested in the MakerLab at the demo. She recalled that one such visitor was a junior here at Illinois majoring in accounting. He was at the demo trying to find more technologies that could be integrated into businesses. Technologies such as using 3D printing for prototyping. Prototyping can often be very costly and time consuming. But with 3D printing that same prototype companies can save a lot of money in the long run. Stop by the Makerlab to see how 3D printing your prototype can save you money!

Check out our other stories or create a new one by stopping by the MakerLab. Having trouble making your design come to life? Contact us for help! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

3D Printed Pollen Grain Explains Changes in Landscape


Recently, the MakerLab received a request from iSWOOP, a program that helps national park managers aid researchers in their quest to explain their studies to the public. This makes sure that the public understands the research going on and the significance of the results found. One such program currently going on at Acadia National Park is What can we learn from pollen in a tree. Researchers Jacquelyn Gill, George Jacobson, Molly Shauffler, colleagues from the University of Maine have spent many hours researching how the history of landscape change can be found by inspecting the pollen in sediment cores. The Illinois MakerLab is helping these researchers explain their findings to the public by 3D printing bright yellow pollen grain that could be held in the palm of your hands. The researchers can then use these hand held pollen grains to explain to kids and adults alike how the pollen shows changes in the landscape. Researches studying the pollen hope to show that what we learn of past conditions can influence our decisions and shape our expectations for life in Maine and elsewhere in the coming century. Funded by the National Science Foundation, iSWOOP is currently active at Acadia National Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Check out our other stories or create a new one by stopping by the MakerLab. Having trouble making your design come to life? Contact us for help! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Welcome Back!

The Illinois MakerLab is now open for business! Check out our hours and find a good time to stop in to explore what's new at the lab?

Snapchat Goggles

We are excited to announce that we now have Snapchat Goggles at the lab! What are those you may ask? Imagine sunglasses that have a built in camera. That camera is automatically connected the the Illinois MakerLab's snapchat. When you take a picture/video with that built in camera it automatically uploads it to our snapchat! Stop by the MakerLab at anytime to come and try out our new goggles!


Fidget Spinners

We are now offering a workshops to 3D print your very own fidget spinner! This workshop can be used to replace the Basics 3D printing Workshop as you work towards your Digital Makers Certificate. Fidget spinner workshops are offered about twice a month of Fridays!


We are now offering two new mini-camps along with our Minecraft camp! Our Build a 3D Printed Drone camp allows participants to code and create a 3D design of the drone they wish to print. Participates will learn OpenScan as the CAD Software to design the drone as well as how to assemble the correct electronics to make their drones work! Our second new mini-camp is 3D Printing a Talking BOT! This camp will allow participants to build their very own talking bot using a raspberry pi(a small computer)! Afterwards will 3D print its shell and make it talk to you! Both new mini-camps are for kids ages 13-17.

Want to be a volunteer at the MakerLab? Apply to join the Fall 2017 MakerLab team! We would love to have you here! And don’t forget! Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest news.