Located just a few blocks from campus, the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture’s Creating_Making Lab (C_ML) is a 7,000+ sf lab for students, faculty and staff in the college. In addition to the three bays of woodworking area, the lab also has a metal shop, laser cutters, a plastics room, a paint booth, a lecture area and a photo documentation room. Users are required to go through two levels of safety training before they can use all of the lab’s many resources.
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The Creating_Making Lab continues to grow beyond traditional woodworking towards the future through technological developments and sustainability initiatives. The lab has a large laser cutter which allow users to cut and engrave materials up to a half-inch thick on a twenty-four inch by forty-eight inch bed from their CAD drawings. Recently, the college purchased a second CNC Router-ShopSabre 4814 60ʺ x 120ʺ, 5HP HSD Auto Tool Changer with Five Positions. Also present in the lab are twelve 3-D printers: one Formlab Form 2, one MakerBot Replicater and ten PrintrBot simple metal printers. The dust collector for the lab is controlled by Ecogate, a computerized dust control system which automatically activates the collector when a user turns on any machine. This greatly reduces noise and dust pollution, providing a much safer work environment. The Creating_Making Lab also offers its users locally harvested woods that are processed by the shop’s sawmill and solar kiln. A variety of straight-grain and figured walnut, pecan, sycamore, oak, maple, cedar and osage orange are available for students, faculty and staff for various departmental projects.
The Creating_Making Lab is committed to safety and proper use of the equipment. All users must have scheduled training on all machinery before they can be given permission to use any. Level 1 training covers lab basics as well as proper use of the matte cutter, panel saw, miter saw, band saw, belt and disc sanders, drill press, mortising machine and hand held power tools. Level 2 training covers proper use of the table saw, joiner, planer and surface sander. Laser training teaches file setup and user interface. Metal shop, wood lathe and CNC router training are scheduled on an as-needed basis.
CNC Router, 150W laser cutter, 60W laser cutter, TIG welder, table saws, planer, band saw, belt sander, disc sander, miter saw, layout and clamping areas, finishing areas, spray booth, and student-made solar kiln. The C_ML also provides storage of students’ building materials as well as bins with leftover scraps to be recycled by students in their projects as well.