Week 6: Fabulous FabLab

This week, we finally visited the FabLab. After Jeff Ginger, the director at the CUC FabLab came to talk about the facility, I was definitely hyped and excited to personally see where all the magic happens.

Firstly, we got a tour around FabLab and got to see the different “sections” of creation happened whether it be textiles, growing material (image below), laser cutting, or using soft circuits.

After our tour around the facility, we were separated into three groups, one for laser cutting, one for soldering, and one for coding. I was assigned with several other classmates to the upstairs lab and got to learn more about laser cutting. We learned first what laser cutting is: when a laser etches or cuts into the material to make a design or object.

IMG_6732 (time-lapse of the laser cutter at work)

We also learned that laser cutting can be used to make boxes (shown below). The box we are currently designing and making will be a box with 5 LED lights that will blink when the sensor which is attached to an Arduino is triggered.

We used Inkscape, an open source software designed to make laser cutting easier. We then were given a “class”/tutorial on how to build a box through Inkscape. My box’s design (pictured below) uses pictures that are black and white in which the laser cutter etches onto wood.

We will start coding the Arduino and installing the LED lights in later weeks. While reflecting, I understand now that that laser cutting objects are just as important as learning to 3D print. While both create something, in the end, 3D printing builds something, while laser cutting cuts the material. I realized that laser cutting can be even more time efficient than 3D printing. For example, if you want to make a box, 3D printing could possibly take hours, but laser cutting a box probably take 30 minutes or less. By knowing how to create and make objects through laser printing, our team can determine whether 3D printing or laser cutting should be used to make the project more efficient.


2 thoughts on “Week 6: Fabulous FabLab

  1. Hi Odelia,
    Great post, and I enjoyed hearing about your experiences utilizing the laser cutting machines and Inkscape software. While last week I worked within the coding group and this week learned about soldering, I have yet to have an opportunity to work with the laser cutters, which is something I am definitely looking forward to. Also, an interesting point in relating laser cutting back to 3D printing; that is certainly something to consider. Do you have any plans on incorporating laser cutting into your final project? Again, great post!

  2. I was looking forward to work around the Fab Lab after peeking inside as well. It’s sad that such an amazing place on campus isn’t really well known, especially since it’s pretty much out in the open. I enjoyed working in the electronics section, but the laser cutting might be my favorite. In my workshop, we all worked on the exact same project, so I think it’s cool that you all got to customize your blocks. These workshops will definitely help to improve our final projects.

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