This Fall 2016, Skyline College’s new Fabrication Laboratory has kicked into gear with new courses and programs utilizing the inspiring space for innovation made possible through Skyline College’s partnership with Base11. Twenty to seventy-five students access the Fab Lab daily for lecture and laboratory courses in Physics and Engineering including PHYS 106, PHYS 270, ENGR 100, ENGR 260, and ENGR 261. Students in the Engineering lab courses are gearing up for new design experiences now possible with the Fab Lab equipment. In ENGR 261 – Circuits Laboratory, students learn how to design a printed circuit board (PCB) and how to manufacture and assemble the PCB using the Fab Lab’s precision milling machine and electronics prototyping equipment. To further support engineering lab instruction, the Fab Lab now boasts a set of modern electronics test equipment in addition to a 60-user site license for SolidWorks 3D modeling software to design and manufacture products on the Fab Lab’s rapid prototyping equipment.
The Fab Lab is also hosting a new STEM Entrepreneur Accelerator Program that was launched by the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC) of Skyline College in partnership with Base 11. Through the 10-week program, students will learn how develop a STEM business model, build their resume, and pitch their ideas to investors. The program includes a laboratory component in which students gain design experience in electronics, design with the laser cutter, and programming, all leading toward the development of a STEM oriented product or service. At the end of the program, students get the opportunity to pitch their company in front of investors and catalyze their STEM career. The program starts this coming Monday September 19, 2016 with lecture sessions held Mondays 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. and design sessions in the Fab Lab on Tuesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
STEM Students and student clubs are also doing exciting work in the Fab Lab. The Engineering and Robotics Club (ERC) are holding their design sessions in the Fab Lab on Fridays from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. During their meetings, members of the ERC learn and develop skills in 3D modeling and 3D printing, electronics prototyping and PCB design, embedded systems programming, and robotics. Honors students in Physics and Engineering are utilizing the new Fab Lab tools to design, build, and research fascinating projects. Honors projects this semester include a Theremin electronic musical instrument, an AM radio receiver, analog audio amplifiers, and a Lorenz attractor analog computer for solving non-linear differential equations.
The Fab Lab is now holding open lab hours for students Mondays 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. and Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. – noon. To find out more about new courses, programs, and services available in the Fab Lab, please contact Engineering Professor Nick Langhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org or Engineering Laboratory Technician Macro Wehrfritz at email@example.com.
Article by Nicholas Langhoff and Marco Wehrfritz | Photos by William Nacouzi