I was at Denison University (a small school outside Columbus, OH) this past weekend visiting a friend, when I noticed that he had a 3D Printed version of the European Cup (for soccer). A small conversation about 3D Printing ensued and I came to learn that his school, home to over two thousand students had a just one 3D Printer, a MakerBot Replicator 2. The software resources weren’t fab either. The weekend made me realize how lucky I was to have attended Illinois for the past three and a half years, but it also made me regret not having been able to make use of some of the really awesome resources, like the fab lab.
I spend a good twenty hours a week working at the ACES Library, not even a block away from the lab. I even park right outside the entrance to the fab lab, always thinking of the somewhat old exterior as something that probably housed a pesticide laboratory.
Alas, it is one of the coolest buildings on campus! I did not have the opportunity to explore every nook and corner of the space in our one session there, but I am really excited for the next two sessions. The group that I was part of was learning about laser cutting, a tool/process that can be used in a wide variety of fields, from notebook engravings (which we did) to milling pieces of wood or metal right down to the wire. A friend of mine in India decided to go the entrepreneurial route after college and now sells notebooks and other easily customizable objects with her artwork printed on it and I have since had a conversation with her discussing new possibilities for her business if she were to incorporate laser cutting (which she now certainly plans on doing).
I only got a glimpse of what Lin (from our class) was doing last week in the digital fabrication area of the lab but it was enough to get me, and keep me, excited till the next class, where I have some cool ideas for what to ‘print’ out.