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NOVA Fab Lab

We Do STEM at the Fab Lab

The 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.


Programs at the NOVA Fab Lab

See below for Programs at the Lab:

Maker Club (Middle School)

Saturdays, October 16th through November 20th | 10 am-12 pm

This six-session program in the NOVA Fab Lab allows participants to make and create while solving design challenges and fabricating tangible items. An emphasis on the engineering design process and design thinking will be introduced. The use of fabrication equipment (such as 3D printers, laser cutters, plastic thermoforming machines, etc.) in conjunction with other technologies will allow for integrative making experiences. Cost is $135.

Register at fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up

*We strive to make our activities affordable and accessible to as many students as possible in NOVA’s service area. If you need financial assistance in enrolling for this activity, please contact us at systemic@nvcc.edu or at (703) 530-3505.

NOVA Makers is a program at the NOVA Fab Lab in which members can use the lab to work on personal projects, participate in regional/national design challenges, and/or gain more skills in a Maker community setting. Currently the technologies available for projects are additive manufacturing (3D printing), laser cutting/engraving, and hand tools. Sessions are available for college students, faculty & staff, and high school students. A NOVA Fab Lab membership, a safety and orientation training, and machine specific certifications are provided and required as part of this program.

Register for sessions at fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up

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 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 703.530.3504 to discuss specific STEM learning experiences for your students. You can submit the following Field Trip Request Form for more information.

The Fab Lab works with NOVA classes to support projects, lessons, and relevant activities. Support and activities can be provided in-person in the actual lab, virtually, or as a hybrid approach.


Interested in discussing how the lab can support your class? If so, contact the Fab Lab Coordinator Lance Lacey at llacey@nvcc.edu, 703.530.3504, or submit an interest form.


We are currently accepting project submissions for ENV 122 and HRI 128. Submit your projects here.

You can also find helpful design resources here.

Plans are underway for the 2021-2022 Teacher PD programs.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on 2021-2022 Teacher PD series as they become available.

In-person Tours Coming Soon! 


Friday Night Robotics

The NOVA Fab Lab will be open on Friday nights for VEX teams to scrimmage and work on their robots. A game field will be available along with space for teams to work.

Start on September 17th and continues until the Virginia State VEX Championship.

VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) - The 1st and 3rd Friday’s of the month - 5pm to 10pm

VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) - The 2nd and 4th Friday’s of the month - 5pm to 10pm

A one-time registration fee of $10 per participant is required for this recurring event (NOTE: Parental consent is required in the registration process as each participant needs to register - coaches cannot sign-up their entire team in one registration)

Register at http://fablab.novastem.us/FridayNightRobotics

Bristlebots & Book Read: This is What an Engineer Looks Like

In this session, young children will be able to build and test a motorized bristlebot, read and hear from the author of “This Is What An Engineer Looks Like”, and learn about STEAM careers and engineering. The 17-year-old author and illustrator, Ayonnah Tinsley, will be participating via live stream to read and discuss her book. Her book educates young students on STEAM careers with an emphasis on encouraging women and minorities to enter STEAM fields. Participants will receive a copy of the book and be able to take home their bristlebot. Open to children in kindergarten through 4th grades.  

Saturday, October 9th 10:30 am-12:00 pm

FREE for child of NOVA Students | $45 for general admission

Registration at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up


NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge

The NOVA Fab Lab hosts Design Challenges for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students to show their creativity and innovation skills through fabrication to approach different challenges!

The Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic forced most of us to lock-in, leaving home dwellers to find new alternatives for entertainment, education, exercise, and play. Manufacturers of typical activities such as video games, building blocks, jigsaw puzzles and even paint-by-numbers quickly sold out as households across the world fended off boredom. In the absence of consumables, folks began to enlist their own creativity to invent new methods of family entertainment. DIY blogs and video channels dedicated to home remedies for fun flooded social media and new STEM products using found/recycled objects saw a rise in popularity. For the 2021 Design Challenge we tasked students to design a product (for eventual 3D-printing and/or laser cutting fabrication) which transformed typical household items or materials into a toy or game.


First Place: Charlotte Miller and Michael Neal with "Puzzle Knot"

Second Place: Inés Kapur with "Corkables"

Third Place: Oscar Platt with "Spyn"  

Prizes Received

First Place Prize: UltimakerTM Original+ 3D Printer provided by Amtek, 1-year SolidWorks Subscription provided by Amtek, Fabrication of Product by the NOVA Fab Lab

Second Place Prize: Product Development Consultation provided by Storycraft Lab, 1-year SolidWorks Subscription provided by Amtek, Fabrication of Product by the NOVA Fab Lab

Third Place Prize: 1-year SolidWorks Subscription provided by Amtek, Fabrication of Product by the Fab Lab

Thank you to our Sponsors!


See Fabrication Resources below:

See Fabrication Resources below:

The staff at NOVA’s Fab Lab wanted to do their part during the COVID-19 crisis by manufacturing DIY face shields for the citizens on the front lines. When the Fab Lab closed in March 2020 (until re-opening in July 2021), we knew our portable equipment would struggle to keep up with demand, so we designed two different versions that could be made simultaneously on different machines. 

  • Version 1 appropriates the excellent Budmen™ design which can be made on our portable 3D printers.
  • Version 2 is our own design created entirely from cast acrylic and cut by laser.

By adopting and creating two different designs we were able to significantly increase our production goals. Our PPE utilizes press-in clips from waste materials, eliminating the need for glue.

Both designs are completely open source and free to use. See our PPE website https://nvccppe.wixsite.com/fablab/ steminar for design files, images, videos, and more information on making PPE Face Shields.


For questions email Lance Lacey at llacey@nvcc.edu.