GoFab: CITRIS Invention Lab launches 3D printer lending library

Five years ago, CITRIS launched the first makerspace on the UC Berkeley campus: the CITRIS Invention Lab. This fall, the CITRIS Invention Lab is announcing its own first: a lending library for portable 3D printers–the first for any university in the country to loan printers out directly to students, according to the lab’s Senior Manager Chris Myers.

The portable GoFab printers can be used for rapid prototyping of designs and inventions for students across campus in the comfort of their own dorms, studios, cafe tables, or elsewhere. The machines, which weigh around six pounds, run on compostable PLA filament, the same durable, yet ultimately degradable material as used in compostable utensils.

The response has been amazing. The printers have been used in a wide range of projects spanning all skill levels and backgrounds–from exoskeletons and flexible batteries to surfboard fins, and Halloween costumes.

Chris Myers, Senior Manager, CITRIS Invention Lab

All UC Berkeley students with a Maker Pass are eligible to borrow the printers. To qualify for a Maker Pass, students (or faculty or staff) complete an online form and an hourlong tutorial and safety course and pay $75 per semester for a standard pass ($225 for specialized research). In addition, the CITRIS Invention Lab offers borrowers this handy operator’s guide.

The CITRIS Invention Lab is located on the first floor of Sutardja Dai Hall, where Maker Pass holders can also experiment with 1,700-square-feet of other tech shop equipment, including standard-size 3D printers, laser cutters, and other design tools.

Each printer is named after famous innovators: there’s the “Kluver,” named for Billy Kluver, a Berkeley alum at Bell Laboratories who co-founded Experiments in Art and Technology. The “Lamarr” was inspired by Austrian-American film actress Hedy Lamarr, who invented the frequency-hopping technology that would later morph into Wi-Fi, CDMA, and Bluetooth devices. The “Savio,” named for free speech activist Mario Savio, recognizes Chancellor Carol Christ’s call for free speech at Berkeley.

The CITRIS Invention Lab encourages makers to post photos of their projects on social media with the hashtag #CITRISgofab.

Visit http://invent.citris-uc.org/go-fab/ for more info.

By Jasmine Garnett, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute