Youth & Student Organizations
The Fab Lab runs workshops and tours for small groups and organizations! We’re excited to introduce learners of all kinds to digital fabrication and rapid prototyping.
Format and Requirements
- Our minimum workshop time is 1.5 hours and we also offer half and full-day sessions (schedule allowing). If your group needs to do a workshop in under 1 hour we can offer a tour, which includes demos and Q&A time, but no projects where participants actually make something.
- Group tours are a flat rate of $40 on weekdays, $80 on weekends, and we can also emphasize a certain tool or topic, such as libraries, entrepreneurship, storytelling or 3D printing.
- The typical minimum age is 9, though some activities may be better suited to older participants. If you are not sure if a participant is ready for a workshop at the Fab Lab, consult our computer literacy guidelines.
- We also do workshops for community members, and are especially interested in providing professional development for teachers and youth educators. If you’d like to learn more about this skip to our training for educators section.
- We typically host groups of 12 or less, larger groups can be accommodated with special arrangements (max 30 participants) . Groups over 15 may be divided into smaller groups due to space and tool limitations in the lab. Our typical instructor-to-learner ratio is one to four.
- At this time we can only host local workshops in CU, but we may be able to bring our road show to your location.
- We can accept cash, checks (made out to The University of Illinois) and credit card as payment for workshops, as well as UIUC unit account transfers. We are unable to access RSO bank accounts or charge student accounts.
- If you would like to run your own workshop and have unusual setup needs, such as assistance with curriculum development or teaching, preparing the space for messy materials or installation of software that’s not on our spec we will adjust the workshop fee to compensate for the additional staff hours required.
- In order to reserve your workshop spot you will need to deposit half of the estimated cost at least one (1) week in advance.
- Payments can be made in-person at the lab or via our online form.
- You may cancel for a full refund if you contact us at least one (1) week before your workshop is scheduled.
General Workshop Offerings
Workshop offerings are subject to lab capacity and staff availability.
Find out about cutting and engraving with one of our most advanced tools by making a simple key chain or engraved notebook
1.5 to 2 hours | Ages 9+
Envision and describe a mythical animal, then learn to use Inkscape and Silhouette electronic cutters to make a sticker of it
1.5 to 2 hours | Ages 8+
Methods in 3D Printer
Explore the world of 3D printing, including the mechanics and materials of FDM printers and methods for creating 3D models, such as 3D scanning and organic and geometric design
1.5 to 2 hours | Ages 9+
Introduction to Electronics
Dive into the basics of computer hardware by learning to control LED lights with the Arduino platform, then solder your own light-up blinky badge to show off your new knowledge
1.5 to 2 hours | Ages 8+
Design with Tablets
Learn how to use graphic drawing tablets to digitize sketches and then engrave them on to glasses, notebooks and other materials
1.5 to 3 hours | Ages 8+
Copper Tape Circuits
Design paper pop-up cards or laser-cut wooden constellation panels and then learn how to light them up with LED's and copper tape circuits
1.5 to 4 hours | Ages 10+
Advanced art and engineering activities with paper and thing materials like vinyl. Might include activities such as paper automata, multi-layer stickers, layered bristol art, and more.
1.5 to 4 hours | Ages 9+ | Possible additional materials fee
We have a range of advanced activities groups can explore with the laser engraving, including making press-fit objects like birdhouses, etching tumbler glasses, unusual jewelry and more!
2 to 4 hours | Ages 9+ | Possible additional materials fee
Pom Pom Robots
Glue together a cute robot creature and then modify code in order to make it move with an Arduino microcontroller
2 to 3 hours | Ages 9+
Use Silhouette Electronic cutters to create custom designs to use with wooden-frame-mesh screens in order to create a screen-printed T-shirt or bag.
2 to 2.5 hours | Ages 9+ | May require an additional materials fee
Board Game Design
Start with ideation to discover game mechanics and then modify (or even create!) a board game by leveraging a range of tools and techniques
2 to 4 hours | Ages 9+
First learn about the connection between textile arts and computer science, then create iron-on patches with digital embroidery machines
2.5 to 3 hours | Ages 9+
RPG Game Design
A crash course in the basics of making role-playing videogames with RPG Maker MV, a small sample of our summer camp
3 to 4 hours | Ages 10+
Workshops by Special Arrangement
Some of our coolest workshops require specific staff and skillsets. We can offer them if their schedule permits. Usually we run these workshops for groups of 12 or less
Minecraft 3D Printing – favorite activities from our summer camp (2 to 4 hours, ages 9+)
Electronic Plushie Character Design – brainstorm a character concept and make it come alive by sewing a plushie and then making it come alive with Arduino lights, sensors and sounds (2 to 3 hours, ages 9+)
Name Tag Bling – create an outstanding looking name tag by remixing existing business card designs and leveraging advanced materials like two-tone acrylic, LED lights and layered vinyl (2 to 3 hours; possible additional materials fee, ages 9+)
Storytelling in [stop] Motion – make a guided stop motion scene, similar to our camp (3 to 4 hours)
Something New – tell us what you’d like us to help you learn at the Fab Lab and we’ll see what we can do about it!
Advanced Electronics – we have many cool workshops based on electronics, like soft circuits made with conductive thread, motion-sensing moving wire-frame dinosaurs, solar panel bags that charge your phone, making music with e-waste and more, just ask (2 to 4 hours; may require additional materials fee, ages 10+)
Costume Element Design – Make a costume or prop part with foam, paint and more, a small sample of our summer camp (3 to 4 hours, ages 10+)
Design Jam! – a fun way to explore the first steps to making your ideas come to life, through story boarding and paper prototping (1.5 to 2 hours, ages 7+)
Inside the Black Box – an introduction to computer hardware, participants work in teams to rip open laptops, tablets and cell phones to learn about their internal components and how to (potentially) repair them (1.5 to 2 hours)
Open Design Lab – graduates of our summer Camp Fab Lab can schedule workshops for free time for use of any of the tools in the lab (2 to 4 hours; possible additional materials fee)