Introducing the Fab Lab

This week in class we had our first of three sessions at the Champaign-Urbana Fab Lab. I have been looking forward to having class at the Fab Lab and getting some hands-on experience and this week did not disappoint. We were fortunate to get a tour from Jeff Ginger, the director of the Fab Lab, and shown some of the cool stuff that had come out of the lab and each space the lab had. I was the most excited about the wood working space and the electronics room they have because those are two of my biggest passions and just seeing all of the equipment that is available already has me thinking of all of the possibilities of things I could do in that lab. After our tour, we were split up into teams to begin the three-week project that would give us experience in different aspects of the lab. I was put in the group that got to gain experience in embroidery. This is something I had never done before nor had any interest in doing but after getting hands on experience in it, I do find it fascinating.

In our group, we were introduced to a software that allows you to create designs to be embroidered and send them to a sewing machine that also acts as an embroidery machine. I thought it was really cool to see how easy it was to create a design with that software and to see all the different types of embroidery patterns it can make and how the feature it has where it will give a mockup of exactly how the embroidery machine would create the design.  I also learned that like 3D printers, embroidery machines are not perfect and do not always work as intended. I decided to take an image of a bison I found online and create an embroidered version of it. My first attempt ended up failing because the canvas somehow bunched up and the needle just kept going in the same spot.  My second attempt also ended up failing after something went wrong with the second color. Unfortunately, I did not have time to try it a third time so I will try it again during some of their open hours to see if I can successfully complete my embroidery. Overall, I had a really great time learning how to use this technology and I’m excited to see how it all turns out.

One thought on “Introducing the Fab Lab”

  1. I’m excited for the next two weeks in the FabLab. Hopefully, I will learn how to integrate these new skills into my final class project. The creative atmosphere inside the Fablab has helped my group narrow our focus for the project. I have no experience sewing, let alone embroidering, so next week will bring fresh challenges.

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