The Materials Lab offers students a unique opportunity to learn how to fabricate their designs and experience the production process first-hand. The Materials Lab is not just a model shop – it’s a place to research the feasibility of designs and develop problem-solving skills while exploring new materials.

The Materials Lab has state-of-the-art equipment for woodworking, metalworking, CNC routing, and 3D printing capabilities. The facility is staffed full-time by a trained Materials Lab Manager and a team of federal work-study staff.

Students have used the Materials Lab to:

  • Create scaled models of their designs
  • Fabricate a steel truss to see if it works as projected
  • Prototype a functional smartphone case design with our 3D printer
  • Build functional furniture
  • Produce tablet cases built out of Zebrano wood
  • Construct a thesis project that required the development of movable metallic joints and panels

Lab Area Safety Policies:

  • Never be in the lab without a staff member present.
  • Always wear appropriate safety protection for your activity, including safety glasses.
  • Do not work if you are tired or impaired.
  • Ask a staff person if you are uncertain how to operate a machine, select a material, or how to safely perform an operation.
  • Always clean up your work area when you are done.
  • Use all safety guards, and do not remove or disable any safety equipment.
  • Any project should be related to coursework only. Non-coursework projects are allowed by must be cleared with the staff first.
  • Only green-tagged tools are available for checkout.
  • Respect the decision of any staff person, they have the final say.

The Materials Lab is open 7 days a week while school is in session.

The digital facility in the Materials Lab includes two 4’ x 8’ industrial CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines that utilize both lasers and high-speed milling technology to produce precision parts. Two smaller-format cabinet lasers cutters are also available for more intricate work. Students can also use an SLS 3D printer for the fabrication of highly complex 3D geometries that cannot be produced by traditional fabrication methods.

Digital Facility Safety Policies:

  • Never approach a digital tool when it is working and make certain it is complete before approaching.
  • Arrive on time for your appointments; being 10 minutes late forfeits your appointment.
  • Missed appointments will result in the inability to book another appointment for the remainder of the week.
  • Always clean up your work area.
  • Only used approved materials for the digital equipment.
  • Plan ahead — work will often take much longer than you expected, especially if it is your first time.
  • Ensure appropriate ventilation is on when using any tool.

Students have access to a wide range of professional working tools including a cabinet saw, band saws, drill press, compound plunge miter saw, panel saw, table router, fixed sanders, planer, and joiner, plus a full array of both power and manual hand tools.

Woodworking Safety Policies:

  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing or headphones. Long hair must be tied back.
  • Do not cut wood with nails, metal, or other contaminants.
  • Leave all safety guards in place.
  • If something is not cutting properly, adjusting easily, or is awkward, ask a staff member for assistance.
  • Always clean up your work area when you are done.
  • Store material on appropriate shelves or racks only.
  • Put away any hand or power tools when you are finished using them.
  • Always turn on the dust collector before using any fixed tool.

This area is supplied with tools for all types of metalworking including a shear, break, roller, MIG welders, Oxy-Acetylene torch, drill press, vertical mill, and horizontal band saw as well as angle grinders, drills, clamps, etc.

Metalworking Safety Policies:

  • Wear proper safety equipment for welding, cutting, or any activity in metal.
  • Make sure to use safety screens when welding.
  • Turn off all gas bottles when you are done using them.
  • Always clean up your work area when you are done.
  • Put away any power tools, welders or cutters when you are done using them.
  • If a tool has coolant, make sure it is working when you are cutting.
  • Select the correct TPI of a blade for the material you are cutting.
  • Work only with mild steel or aluminum. Ask a staff member if you wish to use other metals.