What is a Digital Fabrication Laboratory?
A Digital Fabrication Laboratory is a place where ingenuity and creativity can be put to advanced skills. A DFL can teach students STEM related topics and give in-depth insight into problem solving, design, and creative thinking. The projects done in a DFL require multiple machines for specific pur- poses. Using a variety of approaches, the right tool can be used to solve a specific problem. This type of learning creates an atmosphere of inventive ideas, technology based learning, encouragement, and fun. The hands-on nature of the lab itself adds to classroom learning. Skills can be practically put to use teaching also about materials science and how technology can achieve objectives.
Digital Fabrication Laboratories share core capabilities, so that people and projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:
- A computer-controlled laser cutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts
- A larger (4’x8’) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture (and house) sized parts
- A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas
- A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make three-dimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards
- Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors