This series focuses on “demystifying” fabrication equipment and essential software. Educators can choose which sessions to attend based on their needs. Each session consists of a short presentation, Q&A with expert technician, and lesson plan discussion. Registration includes access to an online lesson plan, an introductory video, and presentation documents. Sessions are open to any NoVA region STEM educators.


December 13th - Demystifying 3D Printing

It whirs and bings, and if you’re patient, it prints you a cool miniature Han Solo, but once the novelty is over, how do you make better prints? Understanding your 3D-printer, and how the print settings effect everything from strength, surface quality, print time, and supports is crucial for success. In this session, we walk you through how the printer works, common troubleshooting solutions, print settings, and post-processing techniques. Session is targeted to educators with beginner to middle-level knowledge of 3D printing. Topics discussed are broad and translatable to variety of manufacturers.


January 31st - Demystifying Laser Cutting

Yes, that acrylic keychain is cool, but the laser cutter is capable of being much more than a tchotchke maker. Considered in prototyping shops as indispensable due to its ease of use, range of materials, and unparalleled processing speeds the laser cutter can make fast work of production, encouraging prototype iterations in a small window of time. This class will provide gateway projects to share with students that encourage part making for complicated assemblies for fabrication on a laser cutter. Topics discussed are broad and translatable to a variety of manufacturers.


February 28th - Demystifying VCarve Pro

Your CNC router is up and running but you are still lost on how to toolpath for it. How is a pocket different to a prole pass, and when would I use Conventional vs. Climb cutting? How do I build a proper tool database, and how does nesting work? From creating ramps to adding tabs, this session will explain the tools and when best to use them. While the Fab Lab uses Version 11, educators running any version are welcome to attend.


March 21st - Demystifying CNC Routing

Is your CNC a large paper weight? It’s easy to become overwhelmed when confronted with feeds and speeds, chip load calculations, up-cuts and down-cuts, compression bits, spoil boards, and XYZ coordinates. This class will shed light on the typically opaque processes that can make CNC routing so intimidating. Topics discussed are broad and translatable to variety of CNC router manufacturers.

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