GODFREY – This fall, Lewis and Clark Community College will unveil a new facility aimed at fostering innovation on its N.O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsville.
The 5,000-square-foot St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab will be used in classroom instruction, and also by members of the public, who will be allowed to purchase memberships for use of the space and equipment. The lab will feature areas for advanced 3D printing, CNC, metalworking, welding, wood/plastic working, clean manufacturing, design, finishing and electronics.
“The lab is an extension of our architecture, drafting, industrial technology and welding programs,” said Sue Czerwinski, dean of career programs at Lewis and Clark. “Students will use that space for classwork, but the lab will also serve a community need. We can be a place where inventors who have ideas can come in and create a prototype, and hobbyists can come in and use tools they wouldn’t normally have access to.”
The latest in a trend of digital fabrication labs inspired by the MIT Fab Lab model, the St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab is unique to the St. Louis area and comprises the following capabilities, and more:
- Computer lab with all the necessary design software
- Digital fabrication tools including 3D printers, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, EDM, and many CNC machines
- Complete wood shop including a planer, lathe, shaper, wide-belt sander and scroll saw
- Metalworking tools including mills, lathes, ironworker, sheet metal machines and more
- Welding capabilities
- Casting and injection molding
- Full electronics areas with necessary equipment
- Finishing room with walk in booth, sandblaster, polishing wheels and buffers
- Assembly area with benches and vises for individual or group projects
- Nearby lounge with vending machines, television, computers and comfortable chairs
- Late hours to accommodate diverse schedules
“Lewis and Clark is empowering the students of the college and the members of the community to make their dreams a reality through the use of advanced manufacturing tools,” said Luke Jumper, St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab director. “The equipment that is available for their use in this lab is exceptional and will allow them to reach for ideas that might have been out of reach without it.”
The Fab Lab is the latest of Lewis and Clark’s efforts toward broadening STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) offerings for students.
“It’s combining the science and technology of manufacturing with the creativity of art, so you could work on a variety of projects,” Czerwinski said.
Community members who purchase memberships will soon be able to complete the proper safety training, reserve tools, and schedule times to use specific spaces within the lab. Interested parties should contact Luke Jumper at (618) 468-4928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more at www.lc.edu/fablab. See more photos of the Fab Lab’s construction at http://bit.ly/FabLab2015.