Reaching Out to the Community at the Library

The MakerLab isn’t just on Illinois’s campus anymore! Every Monday, guru William Jones heads over to the Champaign Public Library to help with the after school program for teens. Will and a high school volunteer, Shreya, helps the kids learn basic 3D printing and TinkerCAD, a 3D design software. There is even 2 Ultimaker printers at the library for the kids to use and print their models on! The MakerLab is really excited to be able to continuing to teach kids 3D printing and TinkerCAD and encouraging them to learn more about 3D design and STEM with 3D printing! Be sure to stop by and see us at the teen lounge next time you are at the Champaign Library on a Monday!

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From Social Innovation to Sustainable Impact: How to Turn Good Intentions into Global Change

Everyone is constantly talking about 'changing the world' but how many people foster real and actual change? 'Innovation' has become such a buzzword that we are losing sight of its real meaning and potential. So many hackathons, conferences or workshops just end, without any real follow up or concrete next steps that harness the incredible energy and ideas that have been brewing. Something has to change in order for there to be change!
In this talk, the Milestone team will share their years of experience in the design, innovation, and social sectors around the world. We'll discuss the failures on why such little measurable impact emerges from so many good ideas and intentions and what we are doing to change that.

The talk will touch upon Milestone's unique approach to user-centered design for change and on how we break down existing silos to get people talking and working together around common goals. 

The firm is on campus to help with a course ( Their visit is sponsored by the Gies College of Business(Office of the Dean). The collaboration with Art+Design (Dr. Deana McDonagh) and DRES (Adam Bleakney) is sponsored by the Siebel Center for Design.



#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!

High School Seniors Learn 3D Printing

Yesterday, the Illinois MakerLab in conjunction with the college of Business, hosted two groups of rising high school seniors and gave them an introduction into the world of 3D printing. The programs were two hour-and-a half sessions that included information on the types of 3D printers, 3D Printing Applications and Software, and Real-World uses for 3D printed objects. Each student who attended the program received an Illinois Keychain that they made themselves. Here are some pictures from the events.


Kids learning design thinking with 3d printing.

One of many workshops offered by the Illinois MakerLab over this summer was Project City X, an international education workshop taught by Ron Duncan from University of Illinois Extension, who manages the southern Illinois operations of the Illinois Marketplace and Maker Literacy project ( The workshop was geared toward students ages 8 to 13 and taught problem solving using the design thinking process and created solutions using 3D printing.  

The workshop was based around the story of a group of travelers from Earth in the not-so-distant future who have been sent to a remote planet to build a settlement called City X.  However, soon the travelers encounter challenges and social problems that affect not only themselves but everyone in City X. That’s where the students attending the workshop came in, solving the problems in groups of two or three through a five-step design process.


The first of these steps was Empathy. The students discussed how the travelers must be feeling based on their individual problems, which gave them a better understanding of the challenge at hand. The next was defining the difference between social and personal issues including which major world issue aligned with their challenge. The third was Ideation or brainstorming with only two constraints. The students’ inventions could not have been something that already exists and the ideas must have come from the students themselves.


After the students had their ideas they created prototypes using markers and paper, and then discussed them with peers and teaches in order to help them improve and revise their creations.

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The final step allowed the students to use a simple 3D modeling software called Tinkercad to create 3D models of their inventions. They could then print their designs using one of the many 3D printers in the lab.


At the end of the workshop each group presented their creations to the staff and their parents, explaining the problem, a bit about their design process, and finally the solution. Upon their departure the students were rewarded with a certificate of completion from the Illinois Makerlab,  in recognition of their newfound skills in designing with 3D modeling and printing.



Watch a 3D Printer being built in the BIF Atrium

Update: 3/31 :Students had great fun at the event. Some photos from the event below, and some coverage on the Daily Illini as well.

Join the #DigitalMaking 2016 students as they build a 3D Printer from an ultimaker original kit right in front of you. The event is sponsored by Ultimaker, who donated the kit, and the MakerLab.  The event will be at the BIF Atrium from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm, March 28th.

We will have 3D Printing and scanning demonstrations and some refreshments as well. You can even get a free print of your head/bust scan, if you get all the questions right on a 3D Printing Trivia Quiz. Find out all about the makerlab, sign up for some workshops, find out about our two courses, Digital Making and Making Things, and learn about our new 3D Printing online specialization .

We will have Matt Griffin, the North America community manager from ultimaker with us to MC the event.

MakerLab_3DP Expo
MakerLab_3DP Expo