Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Local Partners

Historically, rapid fabrication and prototyping production facilities have been open only to highly privileged individuals such as designers, engineers and researchers in university and corporate settings. Locally, the CU Community Fab Lab broke this mold to become a more open maker space by partnering with and investing in anchor institutions in the community. These partnerships and collaborations help us  to introduce a greater range of people to the process of making. How can your organization become a partner with the Fab Lab?

Formal Community Partners

Urbana Free LibraryUrbana Free Library

Contacts: Joel Spencer, Lauren Chambers, Jared Dunn, Lemley Mullett and Maxx Sentowski

Teen Open Lab on most Tue/Wed/Thu
210 W Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801 

The Urbana Free Library has earned a positive reputation on account of the quality of its collections and for outstanding service to patrons of all ages over the past few decades. It is the home of The Champaign County Historical Archives, which comprises an entire section of the second floor, and has a sizable portion of its staff and facility dedicated to Children’s services. Several of the staff also work as adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois, and are able to use this as an opportunity for professional advancement, by refining skills, knowledge and relationship networks. The library is at the very heart of community life in Urbana and continues a longstanding tradition of provision of public computing and digital information access.

UFL has an outstanding combination media-maker hybrid space sponsored by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Informatics and the Fab Lab. Available activities include AV production, basic fabrication, digital art, textile arts, games, access to 18 computers and more. It is open to teens (ages 11-18) several days a week. Check their calendar for more details.


Urbana Neighborhood Connection CenterUNCClogo

Contacts: Janice Mitchell, Jared Dunn, Lemley Mullett and Grace Savina

After school daily
Hartle and E Main Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center’s vision is for a healthy, compassionate, progressive community where all children and families have access to services and supports that empowers successful development. To bring that vision into reality, UNCC provides quality educational, social-emotional, spiritual and recreational enrichment to youth and their families within the context of a safe, structured and nurturing environment. Janice Mitchell is the Parent and Community Outreach Coordinator Liaison who began the efforts to establish the UNCC.

The Fab Lab maintains three computer labs (for 30+ learners) with multimedia production and fabrication software at UNCC. They have access to the mobile mini fab lab sets, including maker tools like 3D printers, electronic cutters, digital cameras, 3D scanners, microcontrollers and graphic tablets.

CPL logoChampaign Public Library

Contacts: Betsy Su, Sarah Butt, Emilie Butt and Hong-An Wu

The Teen Space Tue-Fri at the
200 W Green Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Teen Space programming with games and game design, graphic tablets, 3D printing, Silhouette cutters and more. 20 laptop computers and access to the mobile lab set. Established in conjunction with the Digital Literacy 4 All DCEO grant and the UIUC Saturday Art School.


Champaign-Urbana UI Extension and 4H (Oakwood Public Library)

Contacts: Ginger Boas, Kathie Mullins, Joel Shoemaker, Virginia McCreary and Jared Dunn

Other Community Collaborators

Kenwood Elementary School Tech TimeUnit 4

Contacts: Miriam Larson

Daily after school program
1605 W Kirby
Champaign, IL 61820

Kenwood Community Tech Time is a before-and-after-school program that runs four days a week, where students are able to explore and examine the hardware, software, and social aspects of technology. Activities vary widely but includes work with Scratch, small board electronics like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, electronic cutters to make paper automata and more. The Fab Lab has helped to provide programming and equipment as part of the DCEO Digital Literacy 4 All Grant.

Tech Time also maintains a blog helping to let others know what is happening, future programs, and an online space for the students to upload content.

Makerspace Urbana.fwUrbana Makerspace

Contacts: Jeff Putney and Emily Knox

Makerspace Urbana is dedicated to enabling the blend of arts, humanities, science and technology. Their mission is to provide an open community space where people of diverse backgrounds can learn, teach, tinker, collaborate, share, innovate, socialize, and create.

We share some volunteers and staff, run some programs together and lend equipment to one another. The Makerspace runs a Makerfest once a year, too! You can find more information about their operations on Facebook.


Tap In Leadership AcademyTap In Leadership Academy Logo

Contact: go through website

Summer Enrichment Program
2011 Round Barn Rd
Champaign, IL 61801

Tap In Academy is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing one-on-one mentor-tutoring and scholar-centered enrichment activities that encourage academic achievement, leadership skills and cultural awareness. By providing scholars with equitable opportunities for intellectual, social, and emotional growth, Tap In fosters the kinds of competencies and lifestyles that land students in to four year universities.

Tap In and the Fab Lab worked together for summer camp offerings and several grant collaborations, 2012-2015.

Clark Lindsey Retirement Village – Clark-Lindsey is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community. We are working with several residents and program staff to help them make effective use of their own workshop and makerspace equipment, including laser engraving and 3D printing.

MSTE – Formally the Office for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, we often cooperate with MSTE for knowledge sharing and programming purposes.

CTRL-SHIFT – A social group comprised of school teachers, community members, entrepreneurs and U of I folks discussing and celebrating computer science in the K-12 schools. We work together to coordinate community engagement operations and support STEM education objectives.

University of Illinois Extension and 4H – We are working with 4H in several areas around the state to provide makerspace programming. Learn more in the grants section.

Volo Broadband – Sponsors us by providing our website service!

University-based Maker Organizations

  • The Illinois MakerLab opened in Spring 2013 as the first makerspace based in a business school. It provides a unique and valuable resource for students and faculty to gain hands-on experiential learning with 3D Modeling and Printing, a technology gaining adoption at the consumer level.
  • lIlinois Geometry Lab – This is another fabrication lab on campus, located in Altgeld Hall. The Geometry Lab focuses on serving students of, guess what, geometry. Undergrads, grads, and postdocs collaborate on projects that I’m sure generate some pretty cool 3D shapes: shapes that may even have practical value.
  • Visualization Lab@ Beckman Institute – The Visualization Lab is conveniently hosted out of the Beckman Institute right here on campus (405 N. Matthews, Urbana)! For a monthly fee any student can gain access to “2D/3D/4D image analysis and quantification, scientific visualization, ultra-high speed video, macro-photography, macro-video, video production, 3D animation, high-resolution 2D scanning, 3D object scanning, full-color 3D printing, research presentation, publication graphics, and additional capabilities in support of imaging.” The Beckman Institute is one of the preeminent engineering research facilities in the country. As such, it represents an incredible opportunity for collaboration with U of I’s engineers.