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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, 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 mainly geared toward Taubman College student and faculty use.

Hardware

3D Printers - The lab also makes use of five rapid prototyping machines for 3D printing of student models. All five of the 3D printers are located on the first floor in room 1227.

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 rigid, non-porous materials with accuracy to five one thousandths of an inch.(005").

Laser Cutters - There are three laser cutters on the East side of the 3 rd floor in the laser cutter room. These lasers are available to those who have been trained and authorized to use them. The calendar and signup form are available online.

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 any of the full-time lab staff.

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.

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