The Bitterroot FabLab is an initiative of the Bitterroot College made possible by a generous donation from the Rob & Terry Ryan Foundation and through a U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT III Grant award.
The FabLab is a place of invention, innovation, design, and discovery as well as a place of collaboration and sharing. FabLab resources are ready and waiting for your creativity and teamwork.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to various processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object. In 3D printing, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source. A 3D printer is a type of industrial robot.
CNC Milling is a specific form of computer numerical control (CNC) machining. Milling itself is a machining process similar to both drilling and cutting which is able to achieve many of the operations performed by cutting and drilling machines. Like drilling, milling uses a rotating cylindrical cutting tool. However, the cutter in a milling machine is able to move along multiple axes, and can create a variety of shapes, slots, and holes. In addition, the work-piece is often moved across the milling tool in different directions, unlike the single axis motion of a drill.
Bending wire accurately is critical in manufacturing. Access to a computer numerical control (CNC) wire bender allows inventors, innovators, designers, and artists to bend wire, tube, and rod to exact specifications. Prototypes and projects involving wire, tube, and rod can be produced with precision and replicability.
Laser engraving, which is a subset of laser marking, is the practice of using lasers to engrave an object. Laser marking, on the other hand, is a broader category of methods to leave marks on an object, which also includes color change due to chemical/molecular alteration, charring, foaming, melting, ablation, and more. Laser engraving does not involve the use of inks nor does it involve tool bits which contact the engraving surface and wear out. These properties distinguish laser engraving from alternative engraving or marking technologies where inks or bit heads have to be replaced regularly.
Vacuum forming involves heating a sheet of plastic to a malleable temperature and then forcing it against a mold using a vacuum. Vacuum forming is a quick and easy way to create a form for single projects such as making a mask for a costume or for repeated production such as making a molding sheet for candles, chocolates, or soaps.
Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.
Computer aided design (CAD) is at the heart of advanced manufacturing. CAD transformed manual drafting into the digital realm. The Bitterroot FabLab is equipped with a design station outfitted with large monitors, drawing tablet, and scanner. Availabe design software includes:
|Adobe Creative Suite||Maya||Rhino 5||Solidworks|
|Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection||Onshape||Serif|
|Design software for FREE download — TinkerCAD by Autodesk|
Space for project layout as well as for collaboration is critical to manufacturing success. The Bitterroot FabLab provides such space. Access to the internet is likewise a requirement for advanced manufacturing; the Bitterroot FabLab provides access to fast, reliable Wi-FI.
For 3D printing project ideas and files visit Thingiverse
For advanced manufacturing project ideas and directions visit Instructables