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The Annual CU-Makeathon!

CU Make is a 30-hour make-a-thon that brings together the wider Champaign-Urbana and University design/maker communities to build physical prototypes. This year's theme is “designing for the body”/wearables, and various mentors and specialists will be present to interview, get feedback and test your design on. Workshops available range from an interactive wearables exhibit and 3D CAD modeling to e-textiles, Arduino, and laser cutting. This event is open to students and members of the public of all majors and experience levels. You can participate for half a day, a whole day or the entire 30 hours! For more info, visit makersuiuc.com/cumake. Makerlab is providing some Ulitmakers to the Make-a-thon, and we look forward to what creations you guys have to make! We encourage you to sign up.

The Flyer for the annual CU-Makeathon
The Flyer for the annual CU-Makeathon

3D Printing Conference a Big Success

Earlier this month, the Illinois MakerLab successfully hosted its first 3D Printing Conference, with over forty faculty and students in attendance from across our campus. The conference began with Dean Brown delivering a set of opening remarks and was followed by interesting presentations by John Hornick [Finnegan & Associates], Jeff Smith [Autodesk], Ed Hmurovic [Ultimaker], and Mark Cotteleer [Deloitte]. These presentations were followed by an invigorating discussion panel headed by three Illinois faculty [Jeff Ginger, James Leake, and David Weightman]. This conference discussed several new advances in the 3D Printing domain, including the news that Hewlett-Packard plans to release a 3D Printer in the next two years, the development of liquid metal as a new 3D Printing material and that the University of Louisville has announced that they plan to print a human heart by 2023!

We hope to host a similar conference in the Fall 2016. Stay tuned for details!

Dean Conference
Dean Conference
John Conference
John Conference
Jeff Conference
Jeff Conference
Mark Conference
Mark Conference

Barnes and Noble Hosting "Mini Maker Faire"

Illinois MakerLab is excited to be sending one of our gurus, Scott Zelman, as a representative for the Mini Maker Faire! The Mini Maker Faire will be hosted at the Barnes and Noble store located in Champaign this weekend, November 6-8. Melissa Lunderby, the Community Business Development Manager at the Barnes and Noble in Champaign and the coordinator of this event, is making a large push for the makers in the community to present what they do in their labs. "In line with the spirit of the Maker Movement, we want to promote local makers in the community, and give [them] a chance to share [their] passion with the community at large!" Lunderby stated. We are incredibly excited for the opportunity to demonstrate what the Illinois MakerLab does not only for the campus, but for the community.

The Mini Maker Faire is calling all enthusiasts, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, entrepreneurs, engineers, students, crafters, or makers of any kind! The movement has spread its influence to all levels of careers and interests. The makers at this event will be spreading knowledge about the uses of 3D printing, along with completing some demonstrations and explaining their visions.

If you will not be in the Champaign area this weekend, that's okay! Barnes and Noble is hosting this event nationwide at all of their stores, so be sure to stop by your nearest Barnes and Noble store and witness this event!

Scott will be at the Champaign store on Sunday, November 8 from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM. Be sure to stop by our booth and learn about our mission at the Illinois MakerLab, and see 3D printing in action and some of our amazing prints!

Sign up for our mailing list at the booth.  All visitors at the booth who enter their email, will get special discount offers for organizing Birthday parties at the lab, and one lucky winner will get a $50 gift certificate to use towards a birthday party at the lab.

Fostering entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary team work

Nora Benson - undergraduate student who used the MakerLab.
Nora Benson - undergraduate student who used the MakerLab.

The MakerLab is featured as the cover story of this semester's Postmarks publication. Postmarks is an official publication of the University of Illinois News Bureau and is mailed to 65,000 parents of current and prospective undergraduate students. This story features our two for-credit courses (Digital Making, taught by Vishal Sachdev & Making Things, taught by Aric Rindfleisch) and alums from these courses, Cameron Alberg and Nora Benson (featured in the photo above).

Both classes will be offered in Spring 2016. If you are an Illinois undergraduate student and interested in taking either class, please send your resume to the instructors (Aric AT Illinois DOT edu or Vishal AT illinois DOT edu) , with a short note explaining your interest in the course and any skills/passions in making that you bring to the courses.

If the classes don't fit your schedule, or you are not able to get in, we do offer workshops every semester, so check out our schedule and sign up to Learn, Make and Share!

We're back in Business for Fall 2015

We are back in full swing for the Fall! Our new hours are announced. We had some exciting developments over summer and more to come in the Fall. We have recently received an Ultimaker 2 for testing, and are working on a partnership with Ultimaker, which will help us change all our printers cost effectively, which have clocked in more than 25,000 hours of printing over the last two years.

Ultimaker Unboxed!
Ultimaker Unboxed!

We had a great summer, with several workshops in our certificate series, forty workshops by the MakerGirls, and our first ever High School robotics and 3D printing workshops. We also introduced and had our first birthday party at the Lab, and the children made their own return gifts, while learning 3d Printing!

Upcoming for Fall : We look forward to hosting the MakerGirls again for about eighty workshops over the Fall/Spring and Summer semesters in 2015-16.  We will launch our own workshop certificate series again in the latter half of September. We will be launching a new Autodesk Fellows program, where our Guru's trained by Autodesk, will offer workshops in Autodesk Fusion 360. Learning this tool will allow you to participate in the "Design for Autodesk" campaign, where you can earn $250 for every accepted design. Sign up for our newsletter(right side bar) to stay updated.

We are also organizing a 3D printing conference in November, tentatively for Friday the 13th. Details to be announced soon.

Giant Pollen grains helping kids understand climate change

Pollen grains printed by the MakerLab. Orange represents a water-willow pollen. Yellow was taken from a white spruce. Photo by Kathryn Coulter
Pollen grains printed by the MakerLab. Orange represents a water-willow pollen. Yellow was taken from a white spruce. Photo by Kathryn Coulter

These giant pollen grains were created from the Pollen Power summer day camp, hosted by the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). Created to help middle-school girls foster their interest in the sciences, Pollen Power campers study plant responses to climate change in the distant past to the coming century. After the 2014 campers learned how to identify, scan, and 3D-image pollen grains with the IGB Core Facilities’ state of the art microscopes, the MakerLab created football-sized models of two individual pollen grains—over 10,000x their actual size.

The models were used to demonstrate the texture and detail up close for children at an after school club. They were also featured in the IGB’s Art of Science 5.0 exhibit opening at Champaign’s Indi Go Gallery earlier this year, where they were seen and touched by over 200 people. There are plans to utilize the pollens for the 2015 camp and the IGB’s annual Genome Day, an educational event held at the Orpheum Children’s Museum.

We are thankful for the IGB's support of the lab, with several other projects at the Lab, such as replicating the National Medal of Science, and the XY positioning Table .  Read about the several other things we made at the lab, drop by during open hours, or participate in our workshops during this summer of making! If you need some custom printing and designing services, our Guru's can help with that too.