Fab Lab Plymouth is a digital 'fabrication laboratory' based in the heart of our Plymouth city centre campus – for use by students across all areas and levels of the college.
Our Fab Lab, part of the international Fab Lab network which includes over 1770 Labs across 6 continents, is filled with the latest in digital design technology; from our 3D printers, 3D scanners, and laser cutter to the CNC milling machine, CNC router, and vinyl cutter.
The Fab Lab concept was first developed by Professor Neil Gershenfeld at MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms. The principle centres around providing the general public, entrepreneurs, and inventors with open access to high-end digital equipment in order to find and share solutions to everyday issues, projects and products.
Fab Labs are seen as a place to learn, experiment and create and Fab Lab Plymouth is no exception. The facility provides our students with access to the very latest in digital technology and affords them an opportunity to innovate.
Our Fab Lab is unique in that it is situated next to our craft and design workshop complex which creates the perfect setting for traditional crafts and new technologies to merge with exciting consequences.
The resources within our Fab Lab are utilised by students across our range of study programmes – including our Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, our Pre-Degree (Extended Diplomas, Foundation Diploma), and even our Young Arts students. Additionally, Fab Lab Plymouth is available to local businesses commercially and through funded programmes, and to members of the public each week during certain times.
Visit the Fab Lab Plymouth website for more information, and check out our list of resources below.
Check out our Vimeo and Youtube for short films about our Made@EU residencies in our Fab Lab.
The Formlabs Form 2 3D Printer delivers consistently reliable performance and can produce extremely detailed, complex 3D objects.
At the heart of the Form 2 3D Printer is a powerful optical engine: a 250mW precision laser is guided by custom-built galvanometers, delivering big prints with spectacular detail - the minimum print layer thickness is an incredible 25 microns! A new peel mechanism and heated resin tank create a reliable print process for large, solid parts and small intricate details. The Form 2 can print using an extensive range of different resins from tough and durable for engineering parts, to casting wax with excellent burn out properties for jewellery applications.
Our new Ultimaker S5 Duel Extruder, two Ultimaker 2 Extended + and Utlimaker Go takes files from CAD programmes and builds the object in layers of non virgin PLA biodegradable plastic.
The Ultimakers take files from a CAD program, building objects in layers of PLA plastic. Similar to a high-tech glue gun, the print head heats up the plastic filament and then extrudes it onto a flat table, the print head then rises enabling the next layer to be built on top of the one before. The range of filaments available is expanding rapidly, all colours, metallic finishes, fluorescent, glow in the dark, woodfill, the list goes on and on!
The DeltaWASP 20 40 is a powerful, versatile and fast 3D printer.
The DeltaWASP 20 40 allows for flexibility with materials, and with a print area of 200mm diameter x 400mm high, the WASP constructs large objects with a speed up to 300mm/s compared to 80mm/s from other printers. The WASP 20 40 also comes with its UNIQUE resurrection system, which allows users to resume the print from where it stopped after a power cut/switch off. The WASP's hot pad, controlled temperature ambience, closed chamber and amortized bowden guarantee a controlled shrink of material giving better results in the final print. Accurate and reliable on all materials, the WASP can print pieces up to 40cm in height.
Update: Our DeltaWASP has now been converted into a ceramic 3D printer!
Capable of producing prototypes from a CAD programme or objects from a 3D scanner in a range of colours.
The Z450 colour printer is capable of producing prototypes from a CAD programme or objects from a 3D scanner in a range of colours. Using a composite powder build material, the machine builds up the colour object in layers, producing complex forms and moving parts.
Our new Einscan Pro scanner delivers scans with a resolution of up to 1/20 mm, and captures colour and texture.
The Einscan Pro scanner can be used as a hand-held machine, or with an automated turntable to capture 3D images. It works like a digital camera, capturing information for use with a 3D CAD programme. This enables editing to be done before sending to a 3D printer or CNC milling machine.
Our laser cutters can cut through or engrave many materials such as paper, card, perspex, acrylic, cotton, felt and plywood.
Our two laser cutters can cut through or engrave many materials such as paper, card, acrylic, cotton, felt and plywood. Any drawing can be converted into a vector file, which the machine recognises and can then cut or engrave the design. The 120W laser cutter has a max cut size of 120cm x 85cm and the 40W laser cutter has a max cut size of 97.5cm x 74cm.
The CNC machine is a subtractive process and works by cutting an form from a solid block of material.
CNC machining is a subtractive process which works by cutting an form from a solid block of material. Like the 3D printer, a CAD design can be sent to the milling machine which then creates the object by removing material to reveal the object. We have 2 Roland MDX40’s which can cut a wide range of materials such as polystyrene, wax, acrylic, and wood. Our larger MDX 540 machine can also cut non-ferrous metals such as aluminium and brass, we also have a Roland Rotary Axis ZCL 540 that can be used to create more complex forms. These machines are used to create prototypes but are also incredibly useful for producing tooling and moulds that can be used to cast objects in ceramics, glass and metals.
The CNC router is a machine that enables large sheets of wood to be cut through or routed (deeply engraved).
The CNC router is a machine that enables large sheets of wood to be cut through or routed (deeply engraved). It can cut boards up to 8 x 4 feet and is used to create larger scale objects, from furniture to architectural spaces.
Our vinyl cutter allows you to create made-to-measure signs, stickers and decals.
When you have produced your design, you can use our software to send it to our vinyl cutter, creating made-to-order signs, stickers, T-shirts or decals. The computer software creates G-code which in turn controls the movement of a sharp blade. This blade is used to cut out shapes and letters from sheets of thin self-adhesive plastic (vinyl).