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NOVA Fab Lab

We Do STEM at the Fab Lab

The newly opened NOVA Fab Lab is located at NOVA Community College’s Manassas campus. The lab provides hands-on support to NOVA’s Engineering Technology degree and hands-on STEM opportunities for college students, staff, and community members. The Fab Lab Makerspace provides workshops, demonstrations, project collaborations with NOVA classes, tours, field trips, and special events to help enhance STEM learning and develop STEM skills. The lab provides a creative space to learn about a myriad of topics such as electronics and coding, how to operate fabrication equipment, use of design software, e-textiles/e-fashion, wood working, robotics, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and more.

Some of the equipment available include 3D printers, a 3D scanner, a laser cutter/engraver, a plastic thermoforming center, a 54" vinyl printer/cutter, a large format CNC router (48" x 48"), a mini desktop CNC router, a CNC wire bender, computerized sewing machines, a full woodworking shop, as well as a computer aided design (CAD) computer lab.

See below for current program offerings at the lab:


Workshop sessions at the Fab Lab provide a hands-on approach to learning and creating. These instructor led activities involve creating or designing using software, machines, hand tools, or all three!

Click HERE for current workshops or see below:

Workshop: Arduino & Raspberry Pi

In this two session workshop, participants will be introduced to Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Arduino is an open-sourced microcontroller, widely used for prototyping various projects due to its ability to incorporate LED lights, sensors, breadboard, and motors. Raspberry Pi is a "mini-computer," running its own operating system. Participants will learn how to build many circuits with Arduino using different electronic components and how to build their very own website using Raspberry Pi. This workshop is intended for beginners with no experience with Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Click HERE for more details and to register for upcoming sessions.

Workshop: Intro to 3D Design & Printing

Would you like to learn how to draw and 3D print a design? Do you have no to little experience with CAD (computer aided design) software and 3D printing? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then this is the class for you! In this 4 hour session you will learn how to use Autodesk Inventor, an industry standard CAD software, to design 2D and 3D structures. You will also learn about additive manufacturing by using a 3D printer to produce one of your designed components.

Click HERE for more details and to register for upcoming sessions.

Workshop: Creating Prototypes & Solving Design Challenges

In this four-session workshop, participants will solve several engineering design problems using Autodesk Inventor, an industry standard CAD (computer aided design) software program. The selection of appropriate machinery (3D printer, plastic forming center, wire bender, wood working machines) and processes for component production and assembly will be emphasized. Various machine specific software programs will be used to facilitate the manufacture of the prototypes. Participants need to have some prior CAD and/or engineering drawing experience (our introduction to 3D Design & Printing class is suggested).

Click HERE for more details and to register for upcoming sessions.

Workshop: Code & Operate a Mini Robotic Car!

Create and code a micro: Maqueen robotic car! Participants will learn to use Microsoft Let's Code to program a micro:bit (a microprocessor) to then operate a small robotic car. Activities include use of different sensors (color sensor, IR receiver, ultrasonic sensor), line-following, and driver versus autonomous control. Designed for beginners with no experience with micro:bit or Maqueen. This workshop consists of four sessions and participants keep the robotic car at the end. Participants can also pursue further learning experiences with the micro:bit via online resources.

Click HERE for more details and to register for upcoming sessions.

Workshop: Mother’s Day Gift Making

Use your creativity and some technology to create a Mother’s Day gift at the NOVA Fab Lab! We will help you design and personalize a gift using one of our 3D printers. No 3D printing experience necessary.

Click HERE for more details and to register for upcoming sessions.

Workshop: Laser Cutting & Engraving

In this workshop, participants will learn how to use a laser system to cut and engrave acrylic and glass. Adobe Illustrator will be used as the design software and participants will be able to keep the items they make, including an engraved drinking glass. For beginners with no previous experience.

Click HERE for more details and to register for upcoming sessions.

Field Trips

We offer hands-on learning experiences to K-12 schools (public, private, & homeschool groups) in a variety of activities. Many of our activities incorporate coding, robotics, science and math content, data collection, the engineering design process and fabrication technology. In addition to the selected field trip activity, all of our field trips include a tour of the Fab Lab, a safety training and an overview of local trending STEM careers related to NOVA’s STEM degree programs.

Contact the Fab Lab Coordinator, Lance Lacey, at llacey@nvcc.edu or via phone at 703.530.3504 to discuss specific STEM learning experiences for your students. You can submit the following form to request more information: Field Trip Request Form

NOVA Classes - Project Collaboration

For interested NOVA faculty, the Fab Lab staff can work with you to help support a course project or lesson. Contact the Fab Lab Coordinator, Lance Lacey, at lacey@nvcc.edu or via phone at 703.530.3504 to discuss collaboration ideas and logistics.


Demonstrations provide an opportunity to receive an overview and watch how a specific piece (or group) of fabrication equipment works. The demonstrations are an introduction to a piece of equipment and do not include any hands-on use by the participant. Additionally, participants will learn about Fab Lab programs and receive a full tour.

Thursday Demo Nights

Come on down to the lab for Thursday Demo Night! Each Thursday (see schedule below) we will be giving an overview and demonstrating how a specific piece (or group) of fabrication equipment works. Open to the public and registration is required by 11:00 p.m. the Tuesday before the Demo Night. 

Click HERE for more details and to register for an upcoming session.

Teacher Professional Development

The lab provides a unique learning space for teachers to sharpen their skills or develop new skills in woodworking (such as CNC routing), additive manufacturing (3D printing), design software, Makerspace development and use, Industry 4.0, mechatronics, and other topics.

Contact the Teacher PD Coordinator, Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer, at nschuhnuhfer@nvcc.edu or via phone at 703.530.3053 to discuss specific options for Teacher Professional Development.


Would you like to learn more about the NOVA Fab Lab? Then attend one of our free tours! Tours are available on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. A 15 minute presentation covering the various activities and programs is followed by a 20-30 minute tour of the Fab Lab space and equipment. Open to the public and pre-registration is required by midnight the Sunday before the tour.

 Click HERE for more details and to register for an upcoming session.

*Another type of tour is available on Thursday evenings as part of our "Thursday Demo Nights."

Please click HERE for more details on that tour.

Open Lab

Coming Soon! Summer 2020!

Special Events

Community Open House
Come join us for an Open House! Open to the public with free activities for all age levels. Community members will be able to explore the Fab Lab, watch demos, and participate in hands-on activities involving laser engraving, robotics, sewable electronics, and more.
**This event will be rescheduled for Fall 2020

Friday Night Lights: VEX Robotics Scrimmages
Come on down with your VEX team to the NOVA Fab Lab for "Friday Night Lights!" We will have a VRC and IQ field set-up (with game sets) for scrimmage play and pit areas for teams to work.
**This event will start back up again in the fall.  Hope you had a great robotics season!


For questions or to request information, you can click HERE to submit a Request/Questions form or contact: Fab Lab Coordinator, Lance Lacey, at llacey@nvcc.edu or 703.530.3504