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Fabrication Tools and Technologies

The GIX prototyping and fabrication facility goes beyond traditional makerspaces by pairing open access to professional-grade technology with customized learning experiences and opportunities to collaborate.

Designed for Innovation

Designed specifically for GIX programs, the Steve Ballmer Building offers a number of distinctive spaces that foster collaboration and project- and team-based learning. Just steps from studio classrooms, students have access to professional-grade equipment that helps them take their ideas from a lean prototype to a high-fidelity product in the makerspace. GIX offers workshops outside the course curriculum to help students learn more about the tools and technologies available for their use. Students have the opportunity to work with expert staff to gain skills relevant to their projects and interests.

A Community Resource

Accessible

24-hour access to tools and processes 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.

Focused on students, supported by experts

Learn by doing with the help of expert staff on-hand any time the makerspace is open. Staff members bring their own unique expertise and focus, helping students to craft high-quality prototypes.

Designed for collaboration

The Makerspace 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.

Meet Our Consortium Members
The fabrication resources we have here are phenomenal. I’ve never been in a facility that has this quantity and breadth of technology available for student use at all times.

— Nick Ames, director of institutional fabrication

Equipped with the Tools of the Trade

Students have unprecedented access to the tools and training needed to transform their ideas into working, tangible things.  Read on to learn more about the prototyping tools, specialty electronics lab, and fabrication equipment available in the makerspace.

Prototyping

The makerspace combines some of the most advanced and popular prototyping and product development technologies such as 3D printing, laser-cutting, foam modeling, 3D scanning, and thermal forming. Students have the resources to move an idea through iterative improvements, starting with hand-modeling techniques and on to medium fidelity tools like low-wattage laser cutters and low-cost 3D printers. As the projects get more complex and require higher precision, students can take advantage of multiple high-precision 3D printing technologies, high-powered and high-accuracy laser cutters, and various multi-step processes to create functional, presentation-grade prototypes.

Basic filament deposition 3D printers provide adequate mechanical properties and tolerance for most projects, but advanced printers are available for developing products that with special features (like high thermal or impact resistance).

Hardware Development

Most projects require the development of mechanical components, electronics, and software. After creating and testing of prototypes, students have the ability to simultaneously develop software, hardware, and circuit boards they will run on in our in-house printed circuit board lab. 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 even 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.

Learn more

Contact a GIX staff member to plan a Makerspace workshop or learn more.