Fabrication Lab

The Fabrication Lab provides material, technical, and design support for all modeling, building, and making endeavors among students at GSAPP.

The Lab contains an inventory of both digital and manual fabrication equipment-- from hand tools to power tools to large-format CNC machines. The mission of the Fabrication Lab is to provide a continuum of support for physical experimentation and production, from heavy duty sheet goods to precision work on fine models.

Students of GSAPP have access to the Fabrication labs after the completion of a University-level online training quiz, and an in-shop orientation to policy and safety procedures.

Questions about the Fabrication Lab? Please email Josh Jordan

Hours & Location
OPEN HOURS
Open hours are offered for students who have completed the required safety certification. When the Fabrication Lab is open, two monitors will be present to provide supervision and hands on instruction. Students must bring their Columbia ID with a Safety Sticker to enter the shop.

Open Hours Schedule

Day Open Time
Monday 10AM-10PM
Tuesday 10AM-10PM
Wednesday 10AM-10PM
Thursday 10AM-10PM
Friday 10AM-6PM
Saturday 2PM-10PM
Sunday 2PM-10PM

Find Schermerhorn at campus level (to the North of Avery Hall), follow winding hall to the right into Schermerhorn extension, take elevator to floor (1).

OR

Enter at facilities/auto entry at 119+Amsterdam, enter ground-level door.

Map to Fabrication Shop
MATERIALS
Material choice is an integral part of the design process that should be considered carefully before fabrication begins. The CNC routers in the shop have the capability to mill a wide variety of materials (with the exception of rubber, glass, and ferrous metals). Common materials to mill include wood and foam, but experimentation is encouraged. Below is a list of places to obtain material. For more information, take advantage of Columbia GSAPP's access to Material Connexion.
MATERIAL CONNEXION

Material Connexion is a library of materials open to all Columbia GSAPP students. Their materials database has recently been updated and can be accessed. No login is required.

Anyone on the school's network can access the database by going directly to the login page using the link above. Students and faculty can access the Materials Database remotely (off campus) by creating a free Personal Account. A Personal Account can also be used on campus and offers certain benefits and advanced features, such as saving and tagging materials. A valid school email address must be used as a username.

PURCHASING MATERIALS

McMaster-Carr
Carries a wide array of tools, supplies, and raw materials. Generally, a great resource for anything from Pet G to office supplies. Usually delivers within two days.
*note: most end mills can be found on McMaster Carr here
*see the Hardware section for more information on end mills

Canal Plastics Center
345 Canal Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-1666
For your plastic needs. Relatively inexpensive acrylic, styrene, etc.

T&T Plastic Land Inc.
315 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-6376
Another great resource for various plastics.

Walker Supply
61 Walker St
New York, NY 10013-3513
(212) 226-5554
A general use hardware store with a wide supply of insulation foam. Call ahead of time to confirm they have the desired size.

Metropolitan Lumber
617 11th Ave
New York , NY 10036
Phone: 212-246-9090

AJO Home & Lumber Depot
610 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024
(212) 580-8080

REQUIRED TRAINING

The Fabrication Lab is open to all Columbia GSAPP students who have completed the online safety course, attended an orientation session, and received a safety sticker for their ID. Students who have completed this process may access the shop during any of the monitored hours, no appointment is required.

Only Columbia GSAPP coursework may be done in the Fabrication Lab.

In order to have access to the CNC equipment students must complete an online PDF walkthrough, and bring the product of that exercise to the shop for an in-person walkthrough of driving the machine. The tutorial session will include detailed information about the CNC software and hardware, and the assignment will require students to apply their new fabrication knowledge. You must show proficient knowledge in the operation of this equipment before being given full access.

Safety Orientation Schedule

All GSAPP students must attend one of the Fabrication Lab safety orientations (unless you are a continuing student who already has a safety sticker).

A number of orientations are held at the beginning of the Summer and Fall semesters.

Orientations last about 20 minutes. Before attending, you are required by the university to do a short online training.

At the end of the online training, there is a certificate. Print this out and bring it and your Columbia I.D. to the safety orientation.

Online Training Course
  1. Select "Safety Courses"
  2. Select "TC0600 - Shop Safety Training"
  3. Select "Take Course". It will pop-up in a new window. Then return to the course overview
  4. Select "Take Test"
  5. Print the certificate. Please retake if you receive less than 90%.
CNC clearance

The CNC routers require the completion of an intro tutorial. The link can be found in the [details] button or by clicking on the "Intro Walkthrough" cover page below.

  1. Download and follow the intro tutorial, creating your own RhinoCAM file.

  2. Bring that file to the Fab Lab and ask a monitor to assist you in running the mill.

  3. Upon successful cutting of the intro tutorial file, you are given a CNC STICKER.

  4. You may now book time on the CNCs.

  5. Follow the "Starting 3D" tutorial to learn full three-dimensional file setup

  6. Bring your completed RhinoCAM files to a lab monitor for review.

  7. Upon approval, book time on the available CNC router.

CNC use policy
  1. Slots are booked only by Lab monitors, on behalf of students, after file review.

  2. A student may book up to four hours consecutively.

  3. During heavy use periods, students may be limited to booking at most two of these four-hour appointments per week, booked on non-consecutive days.

  4. A booked student will abandon his/her/their appointment if arriving +15 mins late.

  5. Stand-by use of the machine is on a day-to-day basis. Students with completed files will be made aware of empty or open slots by the monitors at the time of file review. Do not rely on stand-by use of the machine.

  6. Always allow a monitor to "press Go" or start your file.

Things to consider:

Your file review needs to take place in person in the Fab Lab. This meeting will serve as a check that your files are ready and a quick design review for best use of the machine.

Plan ahead! It will often be difficult to book less than a whole day in advance. Get your files right the first time, and book well ahead!

CNC BOOKING CALENDAR
cnc schedule

*to book time on the CNC, bring your COMPLETE RhinoCAM files to the Fab Lab

Equipment
CNC EQUIPMENT

The Fabrication Lab has several 3-axis CNC routers and a CNC plasma cutter. In order to use this equipment, students must attend a CNC Tutorial and complete a short assignment. Students who complete these steps will be added to the list of approved CNC equipment users.

CNC tutorial times are listed on the shop schedule. They tend to take about an hour, and the assignment also takes about an hour, but can be done anytime after the tutorial. View the updated CNC Machinery Policy

Once a student is CNC certified, they can sign up for time on the CNC equipment. To sign up, complete your tool paths and bring the file to the Fabrication Lab during open hours. A monitor will then check for accuracy and preprocess the file to determine the run time. Once completed, the monitor can then add you to the CNC Machine Schedule.