Automated Fabrication & Design Lab
The Automated Fabrication & Design Lab (Fab Lab) is the College of Architecture’s large-scale research and fabrication lab. The lab is dedicated to the advancement of student, faculty and industry projects.
Utilizing the latest industry and research-driven technologies, the lab provides a hands-on learning environment for our students. We also provide complete project fabrication and engineering services for all colleges within the university system and for outside clientele.
Our amenities include:
- 15,000 square feet of fabrication & design space
- 12 acres of open land for large scale projects
- Indoor assembly/design space
When visiting the lab, you must use the equipment provided and may not bring your own. There is a variety of equipment that is available for use in the lab including:
- 3-Axis CNC router (cuts wood, foam, plastic, aluminum)
- 3+1-Axis Haas mill (cuts metal, plastic; cannot cut graphite, cast iron or any sort of organic material)
- Water Jet
- Laser Printers
- MIG Welder
- TIG Welder
- Handheld Plasma Cutter
- Finger Brake
- Cold Saw
- Metal Chop Saw
- Roll Bender
- Tube Bender
- Sawstop Table Saw
- Oscillating Spindle Sander
- Combination Belt and Disk Sander
- Miter Saw
- Horizontal Bandsaw
- Vertical Bandsaw
- Drill Press (2)
- Hydraulic Press
- Various hand and power tools
Using the Fab Lab
Students, faculty and staff can use the Fab Lab facilities for classroom and personal projects (personal projects require an hourly fee). Before using the facility, you must follow all Fab Lab policies and procedures.
RELLIS Campus sounds cool. Can you tell me more about it?
Sure! RELLIS Campus was built during World War II as an Air Force base and given to Texas A&M University when the runways became too short for large planes to land safely. Since then it has been a research campus where ballistics are tested, car collisions are performed and quantified, and future police and other personnel are trained. There is also research in engineering, erosion, agriculture, energy systems, crop dusting and race cars.
What is the facility like?
The Automated Fabrication and Design Lab is one of a dozen university fabrication facilities across the country. It is 15,000 square feet with areas for wood-working, metal-working, jewelry fabrication, welding, and space for project fabrication.
Is there a bus that I can take to Rellis Campus?
Yes. Route 47 will drop off in front of Blinn College and Alliance Complex in lot 1000 (the first stop the bus will take on RELLIS). We suggest walking through the Alliance Complex and taking a right to exit the parking lot behind the complex, then a right onto the road or crossing the street to the TEEX parking lot and then take a right onto the rest of Avenue D to the Fab Lab building.
Where can I park?
If you have a parking pass:
The Fab Lab has a designated student parking lot in which you can park. Follow directions to the Fab Lab and then follow signage to the student lot.
If the student lot is full, lot 1000 is designated for student parking for both Blinn and Texas A&M System students at the RELLIS Campus. It is located to the east of the Blinn College Walter C. Schwartz Building and north of the Academic Alliance Complex.
If you don’t have a parking pass:
If you do not have a parking pass, you can park in the student parking lot by paying for your parking by hour on the ParkMobile app.
Can I work on my project on the weekends?
No. Due to safety requirements, all projects must be completed during the week when staff is present. The Fab Lab is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
I need a block of time to work on my project and cannot get there during school time. What do I do?
Due to safety requirements, all projects must be completed with the help of a staff member during normal business hours. The Fab Lab staff will work with you on scheduling your times during regular business hours.
Please email our director, David Goltz, at email@example.com.
I plan to work at the Fab Lab all day. What can I do about food?
There are vending machines on RELLIS Campus in the Academic Alliance building.
If you wish to bring your own lunch, the Fab Lab does have a water fountain, microwave, and refrigerator to store food temporarily. There is a Walmart on Villa Maria as well as a few restaurants in the area.
Can I drop in to do a quick project?
No, all work requires the completion of our safety training forms and modules as well as a schedule request prior to beginning any project. However, you may drop in to discuss any issues with the Fab Lab Director, David Goltz, but please call/email ahead (979.862.3730 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Do I have to wear safety glasses, long pants, close toed shoes, and have my shirt tucked in and hair pulled back every time I am at the Fab Lab?
Absolutely. If you are going to be doing any work at the Fab Lab, the dress code must be followed and is strictly enforced. If you are dropping off materials or waiting for a project to be completed on the CNC Router, you do not have to conform to the dress code but you must stay in a designated area.
I have worked with power tools my whole life; do I still have to take the safety training?
Yes. The required training videos/exams are available on the website under policies & procedures and on your instructor’s Canvas.
Do I have to take the safety training again if I took it last year?
Yes. You must take the safety training every year.
Is there a place where I can store my project while I work on it?
You may leave your project out, within reason, for the duration of the time you have designated on your schedule request. Completed projects cannot be stored at the Fab Lab.
I will be back tomorrow morning to work. Can I just sweep up then?
No, please be considerate and keep the shop tidy. Always clean up your messes at the equipment after you are done using it, as well as at your workbench.
Can I borrow tools from the Fab Lab?
No. The tools are inspected regularly, and we ensure its correct use and compliance to codes when in the shop. You cannot remove the tools from the shop for your and others’ safety.
Can I bring my own tools?
No. The equipment at the Fab Lab is inspected regularly to conform to safety codes, so please use the equipment provided.
Are there any free materials for student use?
Not typically, materials are allocated for specific projects. Please purchase and transport project materials yourself.
I have a cool project I want to do on my own. Can I use the tools and equipment at the Fab Lab?
Yes, the facility is available for personal use for a fee of $60 per hour. You are still required to follow all safety training and scheduling guidelines.