UofF’s A² Digital Fabrication Lab – called The Fab Lab – was opened five years ago to service the university architecture and arts students, but they became the first student makerspace in the area to open their facilities to the rest of the school and the community at large. Now anyone can use the Fab Lab, they simply need to either pay a nominal monthly fee, or they can use the 3D printer for a pay per print fee.
The Fab Lab is a fully stocked makerspace housing three laser cutters, a CNC machine, a laser 3D scanner and several 3D printers, and they also offer classes, workshops and instructions on how to use all of the equipment in the lab. Currently the lab houses a full color ZCorp ZPrinter 450 which builds models by printing a binding agent on this layers of a plaster powder. They also have an Objet Eden 260V 3D printer that builds models with an opaque yellow resin, and just recently they acquired a new MakerBot Replicator.
The director of the A² Fab Lab Mathew Chandler says that while his lab primarily serves the university’s grad students he has recently seen a larger number of the local community coming to use the facility. Beyond the architects, art and design students who use the lab, he’s helped entrepreneurs, graphic designers, engineers, and researchers at UofF Health use the equipment.
Students can also apply to work in the lab for class credit as an intern where they can learn more about the equipment in the lab and help other students with their projects. And while the staff can’t do a students work for them, they are happy to advise them or point them in the right direction. Says Chandler, “basically people come to us with what they need done and I like to say that we make their dreams a reality.”
Here is a great video from UofF about Chandler and the Fab Lab:
The founding of the lab was funded by the University of Florida’s College of Fine Arts and the College of Design, and it also receives funding by collecting monthly dues and usage fees from students and residents. Fine arts and design students pay $120 a semester for access, while the rest of the student body pays $140 a semester. Local residents simply need to pay fees based on the equipment that they use and the materials required for their project.
You can find out more about the facilities at the UofF A² Digital Fabrication Lab on their website, and if you’re a student or a local who needs something 3D printed you can learn more about the 3D printers on hand and the labs policies and fees here.