Fab Lab to re-open in Oct

Alyssa Foley, Editor in Chief

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The Houston Community College Stafford campus is home to a total of seven 3D printers, plus cutters, lasers and other tools.

Call it a fab lab, maker space, printing lab or ‘Advanced Technology Resource Center’ like the laser-etched wood sign by the door, the crowded room at the South end of the Scarcella Center is a treasure for students.

These machines are free for drafting majors, engineering majors, art majors and all other students to use for projects. The only cost to students are for printing materials.

Alyssa Foley

Cost varies by material, but the colorful, corn-based PLA filament used for this Agents of Shield logo runs from about $49 per 1 kg spool, which can come out to less than  a handful of dollars for a print this size.

Students can create their designs using programs like Fusion 360, Revit and AutoCAD, and then bring them to life in the lab. These and other AutoDesk software programs are free for students to download.

Do you plan on visiting the fab lab when it re-opens?

  • YES! (75%, 3 Votes)
  • It's cool, maybe later. (25%, 1 Votes)
  • No... (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Due to some budgeting shuffle with the transformation, the lab has not been open yet this semester. However, it is expected to be open to students starting Oct. 1.

The budget for the lab and for the lab aides’ salaries is being moved from the Education Technology Services department’s budget, likely to the academic budget for Manufacturing. The reason the lab’s doors haven’t opened to students this month is that no money was set aside to pay a lab aide.

The Stafford campus is the center of excellence for manufacturing. A $26 million workforce building on the existing campus is almost halfway through the construction phase, according to the Capital Improvement Report. The new 57 thousand square foot facility will include more 3D printing and makers spaces. The new building is expected to be completed in May 2016.

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