CITC’s fabrication laboratory (Fab Lab) is a digital fabrication resource center where students use high-tech design programs, industrial-grade manufacturing machines and electronic and programming tools to develop new solutions to practical problems and transform ideas into reality. Created in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this new educational space challenges youth to connect to their full science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) potential. Among others using the model nationally, CITC’s Fab Lab is unique in combining cutting edge educational tools with traditional Alaska Native cultural values and strengths around the development and adaptation of specialized technologies. Using tools and techniques that merge architecture and construction, students bring traditional concepts and understanding to their experiments in programming, design and fabrication. A sample of the computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines in Fab Lab includes:
- laser-powered cutter and etcher that works with wood, acrylic and other materials
- A vinyl cutter used for graphics and masking applications
- a mini desktop milling machine that plots copper and other materials to make antennae, circuit boards and more
- large robotic router system
- an industrial embroidery machine
- 3D printers capable of producing fully assembled objects with moving parts
With staff supervision and training, students of all ages have used the Fab Lab to manufacture innovative new designs for traditional birch bowls, learn to balance stability, structural integrity and efficiency in 3D kayak design, create 2D and 3D device components and art pieces from newly milled plastic, harness renewable energies through the construction of a model wind turbine and much more. Through creative exploration and experimentation processes, our students are discovering the skills they’ll need as Alaska’s next generation of engineers, designers, artists and innovators. Find out how you can volunteer with or tour our CITC Fab Lab by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.