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Digital Fabrication Lab

The newly renovated Digital Fabrication Lab (FABLab) at Taubman College leverages state-of-the-art industrial technology to perform architectural fabrication research.

The FABLab has been a continued leader among academic institutions around the world utilizing robotic automation to perform both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes. Currently the FABLab houses six industrial robots, organized into three cooperative work cells, providing the ability to work at a wide range of material scales. These work cells can be reconfigured rapidly to utilize a diverse range of processes, from sensor guided welding to automated bending, assembly, abrasive waterjet cutting, and composite fiber placement. In addition, the FABLab houses a wide range of large-scale CNC machines, including two 3-axis routers, one 5-axis router, one 3-axis vertical machining center for metals, one 3-axis waterjet, one 4-axis digital knife cutter, plus lasers and 3D printers. A CNC industrial knitting machine is a recent addition to the FABLab’s suite of digitally driven tools, enabling complex textile forms to be produced for a wide range of applications. These tools are supported by traditional metalworking tools and assembly areas as well as collaborative teaching workspaces.

The FABLab 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.

Wood and Metal Shop - A fully outfitted wood and metal shop supports the digital lab, allowing secondary processes such as bending and welding on the digitally cut components.

Contact and References

For more information, please see the FABLab student handbook, or get in contact with the appropriate contact.

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.

If you require help with CNC and rapid-prototyping projects, as well as other digital troubleshooting, please contact taubmancollegefablab@umich.edu.

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.