Students at the
University of Minnesota's College of Design
will now have even more prototyping power, thanks to the debut of a new digital fabrication laboratory, nicknamed the DigiFabLab
The facility lets students create 3D models of their work, and includes laser cutting technology, and equipment donated by Eden Prairie-based Stratasys
Previously, students had access to some 3D modeling and fabrication equipment, but the DigiFabLab's new systems let them work in hard plastic to produce stronger models, according to Associate Dean and Professor Lee Anderson. These types of models can be beneficial for simulating joint connections in buildings, for example.
An additional laser cutter in the lab makes it easier for students to cut building facades with more precision, a process that's usually very complicated and time-consuming when done by hand.
In the future, the DigiFabLab anticipates adding more equipment like computer-controlled modeling, a lathe, and routers.
"Whenever you can represent an object in a different way, it gives you new insight into what that design can do, and you can see aspects of it in a fresh way," says Anderson. "Looking at a building design as a sketch and as a 3D model create two different ways of seeing the same thing, and that contributes to your understanding of it."
Source: Lee Anderson, University of Minnesota
Writer: Elizabeth Millard