Everything You Need to Know About RMCAD’s FabLab

You may have heard the buzz about RMCAD’s new FabLab. If you haven’t checked it out yet (spoiler: you should), you may have a few questions, like “what tools are available?” or “how do I get access to the space?” or “what even is a fablab?”

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The short answer is that the FabLab, an abbreviated name for fabrication lab, is a space on campus containing a variety of technology that allows you to create, explore, and open new doors for your artwork.

To help you get acquainted with this new resource, here’s a breakdown of some frequently asked questions.

Where is the FabLab?

The FabLab is located in the Texas building on campus in room 207.

When can I use the FabLab?

The FabLab has open hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:30 – 4 p.m. Need to access the lab outside of those times? Students can make appointments to access the lab by contacting Ian Southwell. One week notice is required for off-hour appointments.

What can I do in the FabLab?

The technology available in the FabLab allows you to bring digital works to life through laser cutting and engraving, vinyl cutting, and 3D printing. The lab also houses a vacuform machine, which allows you to create multiple plastic forms from a prefabricated form.

How can these techniques be applied to my work?

  • Laser Cutter: This machine can be used to cut out precise shapes and etch into wood from raster and vector images.This can be used to bring your designs and illustrations into a new medium, or to make multiple cutouts that can be combined to create 3D shapes.  
  • Vinyl Cutter: This machine allows you to take vector images and cut them into vinyl to be used in a variety of ways, from creating custom stickers, to creating wall signage for a gallery display.
  • Vacuform: This tool creates plastic forms using an existing mold. A few items this can be useful for include custom masks, cosplay armor, or even blister packaging for action figures.
  • 3D Printing: With a 3D printer, you can create just about anything. A variety of industries use 3D printing technology, including jewelry making, cosplay design, product design, prototyping, industrial design, and even the dental industry.

What if I don’t know how to use the machines?

Relax! The FabLab is a learning environment that allows students to collaborate with each other and with instructors through shared knowledge. RMCAD also hosts workshops centered around the hardware and software in the lab. You can find upcoming workshops here.