Fabrication Tools and Technologies
The Prototyping Labs provide the tools and support MSTI students need to bring their ideas and solutions to life.
About the Prototyping Labs
This collaborative space at the heart of the Steve Ballmer Building provides an environment where students can explore making processes, apply what they have learned in class, and work with expert staff to gain skills relevant to their projects and interests. The Labs offer workshops that complement the curriculum and help students learn more about the tools and technologies available for their use.
A Making Community
Designed for collaboration
The Labs provides a shared space for industry, students, and faculty to work and learn from one another. Students are encouraged to share what they’ve built and get input from colleagues and mentors of diverse backgrounds through each phase of design and development.
Focused on students, supported by experts
Learn by doing with the help of expert staff on-hand any time the Labs are open. Staff members bring their own unique expertise and focus, helping students to craft high-quality prototypes.
Students’ 24-hour access to tools means creativity and production aren't constrained to the 9-5. The space is dedicated solely to the GIX community and is well-equipped to meet a wide range of technical needs.Meet Our Consortium Members
— Nick Ames, director of instructional fabrication
The Labs combine some of the most advanced and popular prototyping and product development technologies such as 3D printing, laser-cutting, foam modeling, CNC machining, and plastic thermoforming. Projects often start with hand-modeling techniques, move on to medium fidelity tools like low-wattage laser cutters and low-cost 3D printers for design iterations, and then on to the high-precision 3D printing technologies, high-powered and high-accuracy laser cutters, and various multi-step processes to create functional, presentation-grade prototypes.
The Labs provide all the tools you need to add mechanical components, electronics, and software to your prototype. This custom lab includes a milling machine, laser cutter, electroplating machine, and multi-layer PCB press. Starting with micro-controllers, breadboards, and jumper wires, students can make simple PCBs for projects using 3-axis mills. Some students advance to creating custom multi-layer boards on LPKF machines, instead of third-party outsourcing.
Fabrication and Machining
Whether a project requires traditional woodworking or a multi-axis metal milling machine, the fabrication shop has the required tools. Steps away, modern CNC equipment to make components with specific shape and geometry for high-precision prototyping.
The Robotics Lab is a multi-functional workspace that includes individual workstations, electronics workbenches, and mobility and manipulation robots for project use.
Visit the Prototyping Labs page to learn more about the staff and all the tools available to students in the MSTI program.