MakerLab Aids in Scientific Research

There are many types of people who come to the MakerLab. Some for fun, some for school and others for research! 3D printing is revolutionizing research by offering quick and easy ways to get prototypes. And this is what researchers from the Laboratory for Optical Physics and Engineering here at Illinois came to the MakerLab for. They were looking for a 3D printing facility that could quickly print them the prototype they needed. And the MakerLab was there to help them! Our Gurus were able to succesfully print all the parts needed for LOPE researcher’s prototype. Once assembled, their prototype served as a holding station for testing devices.


Stop by the MakerLab if you need something printed for research! And don’t forget to stay tuned for updates by subscribing to our newsletter, liking us on Facebook, or following us on Snapchat (uimakerlab),  Twitter or Instagram.


At the beginning of the summer, the MakerLab was proud to be a part of the #WeTheRosies movement! Run by We The Builders, #WeTheRosies involved building a 6 foot tall Rosie the Riveter! With ALL 2,625 parts being 3D printed! Our very own director, Vishal Sachdev, attended the event and helped to put Rosie together. Check out the finished product!


We The Builders mission is to bring together and inspire makers around the nation. As a result, 3D printing labs around the nation participated in printing pieces for Rosie! With the MakerLab printing 10 pieces! Below are some of the parts we printed! Can you pick them out in the finished product?

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!

Illinois MakerLab makes prosthetic hands for a Civil War Tech Workshop

The Illinois MakerLab was excited to collaborate with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum on a Civil War Tech Workshop. This event happened on January 6, 2018. This workshop was specific to medical advances in the Civil War era. Children and their parents learned about how medical research changed after the creation of the Army Medical Museum in 1862. The participants had the opportunity to assemble 3D-printed prosthetic hands printed by the Illinois MakerLab. Children learned about the evolution of prosthetic and technology during the Civil War. The workshop compared this historical information to modern-day 3D printing. The Illinois Maker Lab was thrilled by this opportunity. Our gurus and volunteers enhanced their 3D printing skills and learned more about how 3D printing relates to the medical industry. Featured is a video time lapse of the 3D prostheses in action! There is a link to read more about this story on News Channel 20. We would like to thank the Education Coordinator, Betsy O’Brien, for reaching out and making this partnership possible.

Stop by the Illinois MakerLab to learn more about projects like these or create one of your own! 

Designed and Printed at the Lab- Train Placard

For those born in the technology age, every wonder what people did before? How did people communicate without phones? What was it like having to travel by boat to cross the ocean? How did you keep track of hazardous chemicals on trains? We learned a lot about the last question from maker, Don Wittmuss. He came in hoping to replicate an ancient train placard to use as a casting or a mold. A train placard is a small sign that is placed in a noticeable location that tells what the car is carrying. This is used a lot of the time in relation to harmful chemicals that may be in the car. This small placard let anyone who was loading or unloading that car to be careful and wear protective gear. Mr. Wittmuss wanted us to model and design at the lab a 119 train placard. The numbers 119 signified that the train car was holding compressed gas that was both flammable and poisonous. Guru, William Jones, was able to design this small placard from scratch in just under an hour. The final product looks amazing! Mr. Wittmuss is now going to take our 3D designed and printed model to make metal and wax castings of the placard.

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, Instagram, or Snapchat!

Designed and Printed at the Lab- Light Fixtures

Champaign offers hundreds of opportunities to enjoy a night out with friends or family. Among all of these options lies the Virginia Theater. For about a hundred years, the Virginia Theater has been home to one of Champaign's finest performing arts center and movie palace. You can see anything from live music to comedy shows to dance competitions. Currently, Virginia Theater has been in the midst of renovating and that is where we come in. Architect, Neil Strack, came into the MakerLab to duplicate some hundred year old light fixtures that hung at the entrance to the auditorium. He choose to 3D print the light fixtures because of how affordable it was and the fact that the light fixture was extremely difficult to duplicate on its own. Guru, William Jones, took the lead of designing this order to Mr. Strack's specifications. Will was able to scan the original piece, seen on the far right, and obtain the digital image of the object. From there he printed the orange practice piece in the middle picture to make sure that the piece meet Mr. Strack's expectations. After getting the go ahead, Will was able to print the final pieces for the light fixtures. These will now be hanging up as light fixtures for the newly renovated Virginia Theater. Stop by and see these 3D printed light fixtures in action!

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.

Designed and Printed at the Lab- Sink Stopper


What will you make? This is the first question asked when arriving at the MakerLab. In this case, the answer to that question was a sink stopper. Phil Calhoun came in to 3D print a prototype of a modified sink stopper. He had made a prototype in his garage, but needed a refined protototype that he could pitch to firms that sell plumbing equipment. He hoped to later sell the patent rights of the sink stopper to a plumbing manufacturer. The MakerLab was more that willing to help Mr. Calhoun achieve his goal. Our guru, Scott Zelman, took charge of this project by digitally designing the model that Mr. Calhoun wanted to print.  We printed the model, but could not get the accuracy we need with the FDM machines, so we outsourced the printing of model to the rapid prototyping lab in Engineering. Unfortunately, we can not share any photos of the sink stopper, due to confidentiality issues, but Mr. Calhoun was kind enough to say a few words about his project. Watch the video below to learn more about his #designstory at the MakerLab. [embed][/embed]

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.