The Fab Lab is one of few select academic institutions around the world utilizing robotic automation to perform both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes. The technologies have existed in the aerospace and automotive industries for some time, but have just recently infiltrated the architectural-fabrication industry. The Fab Lab operates numerous computer-numerical controlled (CNC) machines, allowing students and faculty to work with virtually any material.
The Fab Lab is for Taubman College student and faculty use exclusively.
3D Printers - The lab also makes use of four rapid prototyping machines for on-demand 3D printing of student models. Two of the rapid prototyping machines are located within the architecture studios making it easier for students in studio to access the equipment 24-7.
7 axis Kuka Robot - The largest machine in the lab is the 7 axis Kuka Robot, with a 30'x10'x8' work volume. The robot is one of the largest in the world at an architectural institution. The system has been laser calibrated to achieve accuracies approaching that of CNC machines. The robot can load either a milling head for cutting wood and foam, or a water jet cutting nozzle for full 3D cutting of any material. The robot also utilizes a gripper for material forming or assembly processes.
CNC Knitting Machine - The CNC Knitting Machine is a STOLL 14 gauge v-bed weft-knitting machine with 82” needle bed (Model CMS 822 HP Multi-gauge E7.2).
CNC Routers- Two large 3 axis CNC routers process plywood or plastics, in addition to 3D surfacing wood and foam.
CNC Mill - A smaller 3 axis bed mill can perform full 3D cuts in metals like aluminum and stainless steel.
CNC Water jet cutter - A 3 axis abrasive water jet cutter can perform 2D cuts in any material up to 1" steel and 2" stone to five one thousandths of an inch.(005") tolerance.
Laser Cutters - The three new laser cutting systems are now installed in the west computer cluster on the third floor. These systems are available for use by authorized users on a weekly signup basis.
Zund Knife Cutter - The Zund cnc knife cutter is used for wide flatbed cutting of thin gauge stock that range from cardboard and foam, to leather or textiles.
Contact and References
The Lab employs numerous assistants to help with the various operations in the lab, including the laser cutters, the CNC router, and the 3d printers.
You can email the lab assistants at the following addresses.
The Digital Fab Lab Coordinator is available to help with CNC and rapid-prototyping projects, as well as other digital troubleshooting. Please contact Aaron Willette, 1223A A+A.
A reference handbook has been prepared to orient users to the Fab Lab equipment, procedures, and operations. Users are strongly encouraged to review these materials prior to setting up a project or contacting the lab coordinator.
- Digital Fab Lab Handbook (PDF)
In addition, the Art and Architecture Building houses the 7,000 square foot Building Technology Laboratory. The BTL is a unique resource for class use in group assignments or demonstrations, individual investigation by students, or faculty and research in teaching methods in the area of building technology.