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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 UV printer, 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.

 ** Due to COVID-19, the Fab Lab is only running virtual programming until conditions improve. Some of our virtual programming has offered hands-on approaches involving mailing out STEM kits and fabricating & mailing out participant’s custom designs. Some examples of our virtual programming include: Fabrication Summer Camps, STEMinars, Tours, and Educator Professional Learning. 

See below for current program offerings at the lab:

See below and click HERE for an updated list of our virtual workshops, called STEMinars.

Virtual Maker Club 

Have your kids take a break from the screen and tinker with some hands-on STEM activities. Over the course of four weeks a weekly project will be provided that will include activities such as: building a tiny robot, creating circuits, using a DIY conductive probe to design experiments, building a wind turbine to move objects, and completing a design challenge using items from around the house. Directions and printed extension activities will be provided so that participants can explore at their own pace. An optional live virtual session will be provided once a week to provide an overview, support, sharing, and assistance with extension activities. A materials kit will be mailed, but participants will need: a Phillips screwdriver, a fan, 100 pennies, tape, scissors, liquid glue, and recycling bin materials. Recommended for children in grades 4 – 8. Cost $72 ($60 for NOVA staff/faculty/students). Two session options beginning October 26th and November 24th. 

Register here: http://steminar.novastem.us/Register 

Laser Workshop: Design Thanksgiving Pie Toppers 

Design personalized pie toppers that will then be fabricated and mailed to you. You will learn how to design in Inkscape, a free graphics and drawing software, while learning how lasers can be used to cut and engrave. Ages 16 and older. Cost $20 ($16 for NOVA staff/faculty/students). Live virtual session on November 2nd from 7:00-9:00 pm. 

Register here: http://steminar.novastem.us/Register 

Makers by Design Challenge Series 

The goal of a Maker is to produce better products - but what defines a “better product?” What is a better product in the age of Digital Fabrication? Machines might have assimilated hard skills, but the soft skills necessary for innovation have yet to be adopted. This 4-part STEMinar and optional lab(s) addresses these concerns by identifying the soft skills required in Digital Fabrication. Topics will include: Design Thinking, brainstorming, user-empathy, rapid ideation, prototyping, and making as an iterative non-sequential process. The series will conclude with the presentation of a design challenge and competition, with the winning members’ product being fabricated in our own Fab-Lab. Open to current 9-12th graders and college students. Sessions run from 7:00 – 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th . Registration is for all 4 sessions, while the Optional Labs have a separate registration. FREE. 

Register here: http://steminar.novastem.us/Register 

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

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.

Fab Lab center

Being makers and designers at heart, the staff at NOVA’s Fab Lab wanted to do their part during this crisis by manufacturing DIY face shields for the citizens on the front lines. However, with our Lab closed and access to machinery limited we faced many hurdles. We knew our portable equipment would struggle to keep up with demand, so we took the initiative of designing 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.

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

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. 

Upcoming Teacher Professional Learning opportunities related to fabrication and makerspaces:

TinkerCAD: Learn how to design digital models suitable for 3D printing 
Learn how to use TinkerCAD, a free entry level CAD software, in your classroom or makerspace to complete a student project. You will design a custom car frame that will be 3D printed and then used to build a mini solar car. The custom car frame, solar car kit, and extension activities will be mailed to you after the session. Extension activities involve testing the car performance, calculating average speed of the car, collecting data, learning how solar panels work, and more. FREE. Registration and more info at http://teacherpd.novastem.us/Register

Inkscape: Create vector files ready for laser cutting 
Learn how to use Inkscape to create designs for laser cutting/engraving. Participants will use a free drawing and design software called Inkscape to design a keychain/backpack tag. This training is recommended for educator’s that have access to a laser engraver and can provide a similar experience to their students. Student and instructor guides will be included. FREE. Registration and more info at http://teacherpd.novastem.us/Register

Easel: Understand tool-pathing for CNC carving
Learn the basic technology on how CNC carving works while designing an ink stamp using a free, web-based software called Easel. This session is recommended for educator’s that have access to a Carvey® desktop CNC router and can provide a similar learning experience to their students. The session will model and emphasize tips and tricks for virtual instruction using this software. Time for pedagogical discussions and student/instructor guides will be provided. FREE. Registration and more info at http://teacherpd.novastem.us/Register

In the Woodshop: Questions & Answers
This session is participant focused and provides the opportunity to have your woodworking questions answered. Whether it is a technical, general, or seemingly simple question, feel free to ask and learn. Topic questions may include: technical troubleshooting, equipment, techniques and methods, safety, woodshop organization, inventory, etc. Participants will submit their most leading question at time of registration to help facilitate discussions in advance. Recommended for educators that have access to a woodshop or are looking to incorporate woodworking into their student activities. FREE. Registration and more info at http://teacherpd.novastem.us/Register

See NOVA SySTEMic’s Teacher PD page at https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic/teacherspd.html for learning opportunities on other topics!

Virtual Tour & Info Session: NOVA Fab Lab

Would you like to learn more about the NOVA Fab Lab? Then attend this virtual tour and live information session. You will have an opportunity to ask questions, see images and videos of lab activities, and receive an overview of Fab Lab programs. Open to the public and registration is required. Free. November 6th from 2:00-2:45 pm.

Register here: http://steminar.novastem.us/Register

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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