University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Open Hours Appointments

Stop by and make something! Our Open Hours are available to everyone to come in and tinker, design, and create.

Want to make something awesome?

Our Open Hours are available to everyone (community, university, visitors to town, etc) to come in and tinker, design, and create amazing projects. Don’t know how to use our tools or software? That’s alright! Let us know what you’re working on and we can help walk you through the process and answer questions you may have along the way. We won’t do projects for you, but we’re happy to assist along the way.

General information & FAQs

  • Appointments have pre-set time slots to select from for each tool and associated costs listed.
    • Payment for time associated tools (such as the lasers or e-cutters) is a flat cost per appointment slot regardless of time spent with the tool in use.
      • We encourage you to wait to book your laser appointments until your cut/etch file is fully finished and approved by lab staff.
    • If you need additional time for your project, you may sign up for additional consecutive slots if they are available.
    • Please be aware that some tools are slower than others. If you are running a larger file, we encourage you to plan your time accordingly when making your appointment.
    • Laser files with large amounts of etching may need more than one appointment slot to complete.
  • Fab Lab Staff reserve the right to end your in progress file if it exceeds your designated appointment time for that tool.
  • Check in for your appointment with staff when you arrive.
    • Once you’re checked in, you may use the tool that you’ve signed up for for the duration of time allotted to you.
    • If you need additional time for your project, you may sign up for additional consecutive slots if they are available.
    • For one user tools (like the laser or poster printer), if others have reserved a place after you, you will need to end your use of the area at the end of your designated time and schedule another time slot.
    • Once you are done with the area, please clean up messes and put away any small tools you may have used.
  • When you leave, please check out / pay for your machine use /materials or let us know you are done.

Feel free to stop in and explore! If it’s your first visit let us know! We can give you a quick tour of the lab and answer any questions you may have. If you’re feeling up to it, we can suggest starter projects to get you making that day. 

That’s okay! We’re a learning space and lab open hours staff are here to assist you in becoming familiar with and using the variety of tools and software we have around the lab. No prior experience is needed, just a willingness to learn.

While we highly encourage scheduling appointments in advance (for the lasers and poster printer especially),  appointments can be made at the door so long as the tool(s) you’re looking to use are available.

Please read “what to know before making an appointment” for further information.

Unlike other Fab Labs, we don’t charge membership fees. In order to do up keep on machines and stock general use supplies for each area we do charge a small area fee based on the tool(s) you use. 

Yes. You’re allowed to bring in your own materials. Should you wish, we do have a small stock of items we sell in lab – at cost – available for purchase.

*Please note that not all materials are compatible for use with our machines. Please check with staff if you have questions.

 

That’s okay! Most prints do tend to take longer than a half hour appointment slot. Prints can run overnight if needed and can be picked up during our next open hours. We do ask that prints be paid for before you leave 

No. Our lasers are both the wrong type and also not strong enough to engrave or cut metal. Even very thin metal.

How long a laser file takes to run is dependent on the size, the material type and thickness, and the design being cut or etched. 

If your project is one or more of the things listed below, we would encourage making another concurrent appointment slot to make sure your file finishes. 

  • A full etch on material larger than 12″ x 12″
  • Cutting through 1/4″ material
  • Complex file / a large number of small shape cut outs
  • CAD/Architectural files
  • Using the rotary tool (setup and calibration may take some trial and error)
  • Using the Epilog laser

TOOL APPOINTMENT INFORMATION

Cost: Free

We have all of the design and control software we use in the lab on our lab computers. We like to emphasize free and open source software solutions, but have a variety of professional design software as well.

Cost: $1 per hour

Use our Silhouette cutters to create custom stickers, iron on patches, paper cards, and more! This reservation includes use of the machine, and a computer with all the needed software to run it. 

Cost: $1 per hour/per machine

Embroidery patch cost: $0.25 per sq. in.

Use our digital embroidery and sewing machines (and software) to design and stitch your own custom patch or clothing. We also have a serger, irons, ironing boards, and a variety of scrap fabric and sewing notions so you can bring your project from concept to completion.

Cost: $0.15 per gram; $2 minimum

Print cool stuff using our 3D printers! All prints are in PLA plastic.

Our Flashforges (smaller printers) have a print volume of 5 x 5 x 5 inches.

Our Enders (larger printers) have a print volume of 8.5 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches.

If you need to use the lab computers to set up and slice your file please make an appointment in the computer lab first. You will be charged based on the weight of your print. Weight and cost estimates can be made from the slicing software available in the Lab.

Cost: $0.25 per mL; $5 minimum

Our UV resin based 3D printers use controlled UV light to cure photosensitive resin. These printers can produce great detail on small objects, but they are slow and messy to work with! They have a build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 155mm, and can hold up to 70ml of resin in the vat.

Make sure you have a file prepared, or if you need time to prepare a file you can book time in our computer lab first! 

Cost: 24″ roll prints are $3 per linear foot (2’x3′ poster is $9)

Our large format poster printer is an HP Inkjet printer that can do prints up to 24 inches wide.

Print cost is based on the number of prints (if printed on individual sheets) or by linear feet (if printed from the roll). 

Cost: $7 per 30 minute appointment

Our newest Universal Laser has a bed size of 18 inches by 32 inches and can cut up to 1/4″ acrylic and plywood.

This laser also has a rotary attachment to laser etch cylindrical items like glassware and water bottles.

For safety, all materials to be lasered must be approved by a staff member.

We encourage you to set up a Computer Lab appointment before your laser appointment, so we can look over your files.

Due to the popularity of these machines, their use time is strictly limited to the appointment time slot(s) you select.

Cost: $7 per 30 minute appointment

Our Universal Laser has a bed size of 18 inches by 32 inches and can cut up to 1/4″ acrylic and plywood.

For safety, all materials to be lasered must be approved by a staff member.

We encourage you to set up a Computer Lab appointment before your laser appointment, so we can look over your files.

Due to the popularity of these machines, their use time is strictly limited to the appointment time slot(s) you select.

Cost: $7 per 30 minute appointment

Our Epilog Laser Cutter has a bed size of 12 inches by 24 inches. This laser only works with materials with a 1/8″ thickness (nothing thinner or thicker). 

Of our lasers, this one does best with fine detail etching, especially on clear acrylic.

We encourage you to set up a Computer Lab appointment before your laser appointment, so we can look over your files.

Due to the popularity of these machines, their use time is limited to the time slot(s) you select.

Cost: $2 per 30 minute appointment

This area has an assortment of manual screw drivers, pliers, hammers, mallets, chisels, utility knives for use as well as wood glue, sandpaper, and more.

Also available are small electric/battery powered tools like cordless screwdrivers, a dremel, and a heat gun.

Cost: $1 per hour

Wire, solder, test, and create the circuit you need! This reservation gets you access to soldering irons, multi-meters, power supply, oscilloscope, and most of the hand tools and supplies you will need. 

Starting May 12th

Summer Open Hours

With the end of the semester fast approaching, we’ll be switching over to our summer open hours starting May 12th.

SPRING OPEN HOURS (until 5/12):
Sundays: 1-6PM
Mon-Thurs: 5-9PM

SUMMER OPEN HOURS (after 5/12):
Sundays only: 1-6PM