Category Archives: Fab Lab

Fab Lab This Month

Fab Lab Events For July

NOVA Makers

NOVA Makers is a special program at the NOVA Fab Lab in which members can utilize advanced fabrication equipment to work on personal and class projects.

Members have access to 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, a UV flatbed printer, a large format printer/cutter, and a plastic thermoforming center (soldering stations and sewing machines certifications will be available in Fall 2022). Safety and machine trainings are provided along with the issuance of digital micro-credentials as certifications are completed.

Membership is initiated upon completion of a Safety & Orientation session and is ONLY open to high school students, NOVA students, and NOVA faculty/staff. More details on this program can be found in the Membership Handbook.

Register for sessions at fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up

Summer Schedule: June 28 through August 4

Safety & Orientation

Tuesdays | 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Thursdays |9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Machine Certification

Tuesdays | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursdays |11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Member Open Labs

Tuesdays | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays | 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursdays | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Fab Lab Design Challenge

 

Congratulations to our NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge Winners for Spring 2022!

The NOVA Fab Lab held an in-person awards ceremony on Thursday, June 16th to recognize the Spring 2022 Design Challenge winners. As the ceremony’s highlight, students were able to see their designs realized as the actual fabricated products were revealed to them for the first time, alongside family members and friends. Participants also received their prizes, networked with judges and sponsors, and toured NOVA’s state-of-the-art Fab Lab after the event. This year’s challenge was for middle school, high school, or college students to design or refine a product to improve any area of their school. Sponsors for the Design Challenge were BAE Systems, Micron, Amtek Company, Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering.

Design Thinking and creative solutions to common challenges are a prominent feature in STEM education and the technology workforce, making the Design Challenge a touchstone for talented young minds to generate ideas in an equitable way. The NOVA Fab Lab’s mission is to decrease the growing skills gap in the Digital Fabrication arena by providing students a more holistic fabrication experience, including access to the most advanced processes, training in 3D Modeling and design, and a foundation in the principles of Design Thinking and creative problem solving.

With a goal of broadening participation and meeting students where they are at, NOVA allowed student entries in any format, including hand-drawn submissions. This was done to re-focus the goal away from simply displaying digital proficiency and more toward ‘solving a problem’ in their community. “One of the Fab Lab missions is to empower students to think and fabricate in unison and help them unlock their potential to recognize and solve complex problems” said Richard Sewell, NOVA’s Fab Lab Coordinator.

Prior to the final submissions, the NOVA Fab Lab provided 16 free Dominating Our Design Challenge prep sessions in February and March. The first, entitled Using Design Thinking, provided a process for moving an idea to a functional solution. The second, Learning the Tools,helped participants learn the strengths and weaknesses for rapid prototyping on four common fabrication technologies: laser cutting, 3D Printing, CNC Routing, and plastic thermoforming. Dominating Our Design Challenge sessions were utilized by 141 participants in 4 locations: Prince William Public Libraries, Arlington Tech, SERVE Family Shelter, the NOVA Fab Lab, and virtually.

After the design submission deadline of April 17, the Fab Lab received 62 total entries, comprised of 123 participants. Once submitted, participants were judged based upon their digital or hand-drawn designs and written descriptions. The top three then had their winning designs fabricated by our Fab Lab team using a CNC router, woodshop equipment and hand tools as well as a Stratasys F370 3D printer and received their fabricated products at the ceremony.

The 1st place award was won by a two-person team consisting of Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington from The Nokesville School for their product titled, iDesk, which is a desk with an iPad screen and charger built-in. The iDesk solves the problem of having to charge laptops and is purposed so that teachers can send assignments directly to the desk tablet. Eli and Logan won the top prize of $500 plus an Ender-3 S1 3D printer, certificate plaques, and their fabricated product.

NOVA’s own Carmen Chica earned 2nd place with her All In Chair design, a desk with a wide backplate chair composed of two adjustable arms to create right-handed and left-handed usage, so all students feel included. Carmen was awarded $300, a 3D printer, a certificate plaque, and her fabricated product.

The 3rd place award went to Harris Lechtman, from George C. Marshall High School for his Study Buddy Organizer, which offers a solution to limited desk space through an attachment that holds a phone, a drink, pencil slots and other sections for desk items. Harris won $100 plus the 3D printer, plaque, and his fabricated product.

Fab Lab Coordinator Lance Lacey reflected on the payoff of a design coming to realization: “I always enjoy seeing the students expressions as they interact with the physical prototype of their idea for the first time. Before it was an idea and a sketch, but then they see an actual functioning product!”

There were also three honorable mention designs: Eva Torrico from Thomas Jefferson Middle School submitted a Terretami Fork, which combines a spoon, fork, knife, straw, chopsticks, and a milk puncturer all into one reusable utensil.

Tyler Freeman, Connor Freeman, and Lucas Morton from MOT Charter High Schooldesigned a Recyclable Lunch Tray with biodegradable and recyclable material that can be vacuum-formed to allow for bulk-production.

Devin Gerdes, from NOVA, was recognized for Print Catcher, which is a customized basket that prevents sheets from touching the ground once they have been printed.

The Design Challenge is made less of a challenge for NOVA SySTEMic to organize thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: BAE Systems (special thanks to David Sargent and Hannah Wilson), Micron (Zuzana Steen and Robert Simmons), Amtek Company (Alex Baddock), Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering (Arlene Evans and Barry Dewberry–Arlene is a NOVA Alumna!)

Industry representatives also served as Design Challenge Judges: from BAE, Jim Sturim (a Project Engineer) and Elly Taylor (a Test Technician). From Digital Realty, Karen Petersburg (a Design Manager), and from Dewberry Engineering, Carmen Bere (a Project Engineer).

The Design Challenge also received stellar support from NOVA, including Dr. Chad Knights, VP of IET and College Computing; IET Dean Paula Ford, Dean of Math, Science, and Engineering; Dr. Abe Eftekari, NOVA SySTEMic Program Manager; Aleksander Marthinussen and Kelly Persons from the NOVA Foundation. NOVA Faculty Nina Lord and Michael Spiller also brought their classes over to the Fab Lab to participate.

Additional recognition and thanks to Kristen Burnham from Prince William Public Libraries, Michelle Van Lare from Arlington Tech, Brittany Greer from Rosie Riveters and Amrata Sahasrabudhe from SERVE Family Shelter.

Finally, special recognition goes to the NOVA Fab Lab team including Lance Lacey, Richard Sewell, Brendan Murphy, Kai Le and Valerie Bierhuizen, who developed, strategized and implemented Design Challenge procedures for months, as well as providing effective outreach to get all participants and sponsors involved.

NOVA SySTEMic Coordinator Brendan Murphy reflected on the focus of student creativity: “We built the challenge to be intentionally open-ended to allow for a wide variety of solutions. It’s truly exciting and inspiring to see the creative ideas that students design.”

First place winners Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington had some sage advice for aspiring future Design Challenge participants; “No idea is a bad idea,” said Eli. “Don’t stress out, because you have a lot of time to do it. You spend most of your time brainstorming. Keep it simple,” Logan added. “If you have a good idea already, don’t stress yourself trying to improve it, just tweak the small things.”

The inaugural Design Challenge Ceremony in July 2021 began the process of bringing back in-person events to the Fab Lab. Going forward, the challenge will be held twice-a-year, in both the fall and spring semesters and is open to middle school, high school and college students.

More information about the Fall Design Challenge will be available here and on the NOVA Fab Lab page by the end of the summer.

#WeDoSTEM #DesignThinking

Engineering Tech Externship Program at NOVA

NOVA has 2 exciting Externship opportunities for 1) Secondary Educators and 2) Industry Professionals in Engineering Technology. These externships are supported by an NSF DCO Tech Grant.

1) Externship For Secondary Educators
Register at: iet.novastem.us/Externship2 

>> For secondary school CTE administrators, teachers, and/or counselors who are interested in guiding students into a successful tech career.

This externship equips educators to build awareness for Engineering Technology (ET) and Data Center Operations (DCO) careers in the region and the educational pathways NOVA provides to prepare students for these in-demand and high-wage careers. Educator Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:

  1. Attend an industry tour of Micron Technology, where attendees will see the daily operations and gain insight into career opportunities in Engineering Technology. 
  2. Attend an industry tour of a data center, which will provide first-hand visuals of a data center’s daily operations. There will also be a presentation on data center careers and opportunities. 
  3. Attend a tour/professional development day at the NOVA Manassas Fab Lab. The goal is to create clear pathways and provide materials to guide high school students into NOVA’s Engineering Technology and Data Center Operations programs. 

Micron Tours: April 5th or May 16th
Data Center Tours: April 22nd, May 20th, or June 30th
NOVA Fab Lab Tours/PD Day: July 22nd or 29th 

>> Register at: iet.novastem.us/Externship2
>> For more info contact Matt Lambert at blambert@nvcc.edu

Click Here for more info about Engineering Technology at NOVA
Click Here for more info about Data Center Operations at NOVA


2) Externship For Industry Professionals
Register at iet.novastem.us/Externship

>> For engineering technology professionals and data center technicians to inspire the next generation of engineering technicians.

This externship engages professionals in the Engineering Technology industry to support high school students who are learning about technician careers, and equips professionals to teach NOVA’s engineering tech programs. Industry Externship participants receive a stipend after completing the following activities:

  1. An introduction to NOVA’s engineering technology programs and facilities.
  2. Learn credentials required to teach as an adjunct instructor at NOVA and explore the pathways to becoming a credentialed engineering technology or data center operations faculty member.
  3. Develop and deliver two lessons for the summer bridge program to inspire high school students to pursue careers in Engineering Technology.

Participants will attend an in-person professional development session at the NOVA Fab Lab (NOVA Manassas Trailside Building) on June 10th, where they will create their lesson presentation for NOVA’s Engineering Tech Summer Bridge Program, to be taught on either June 24th or 30th.

Virtual PD Sessions: May 5th, 12th, and 19th
In-Person PD Session: June 10th, 2022 at the NOVA Fab Lab
Bridge Program Instructing: June 24th or 30th

>> Register at iet.novastem.us/Externship
>> For more info contact Matt Lambert at blambert@nvcc.edu

Click Here for more info about Engineering Technology at NOVA
Click Here for more info about Data Center Operations at NOVA


Supporting Technology Programs at NOVA

NOVA IET: NOVA’s Information and Engineering Technology Program. Learn more about Information Technology, Engineering Technology, Data Center Operations, Cybersecurity, Information Systems Technology, and Cloud Computing https://www.nvcc.edu/iet.

NOVA SySTEMic: NOVA’s STEM Program to equip students for in-demand technology careers and expand regional capacity for STEM talent. Learn more about STEM Careers, NOVA Fab Lab activities, Summer Bridge Programs (in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Engineering Technology), STEM Camps, Teacher Professional Development, STEM Competitions, Expos, and more: https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #HighTechHighWage

Fab Lab Activities in December

 

Save the Date for December Tours and Workshops!

Dominating our Design Challenge Series
College students, high school and middle school students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to enter the Fab Lab Design Challenge that will be released in February 2022.  The Challenge is sponsored by our industry partner, BAE Systems, and all sessions are offered free of charge.  Although the challenge’s mission is to inspire innovation in fabrication, we want those with great ideas to participate, regardless if they have little to no experience on these topics.  To support applicants, we are offering the following prep session:

Dominating our Design Challenge: Using Design Thinking
This virtual session will explain the five steps of Design Thinking to provide participants with a repeatable process for moving an idea to a functioning solution. The session will include examples of Design Thinking best practices, virtual team exercises in brainstorming, and a reference guide.  Free and virtual format via Zoom.  Two session choices:
Mon 11/29: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/9: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)

Dominating our Design Challenge: Learning the Tools
Whether it is turning a digital design into a 2D, 2.5D or a 3D model, or building a physical model from scratch, this in-person session will focus on four common fabrication technologies (laser cutting, additive manufacturing-3D printing, CNC routing, & plastic thermoforming) that can be used to bring your idea into physical space.  This session focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different processes and how they can be used in rapid prototyping.  Participants will be able to see equipment demonstrations of how each process works.  Free and in-person at the NOVA Fab Lab (Manassas campus).
Mon, 12/6: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/16: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)


Tours
NOVA Fab Lab guided in-person tours will be provided for participants to view the spaces and equipment in the Makerspace, Woodshop, and college Mechatronics labs. Open to the public, no registration required .
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location: NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address: 10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Mini-Workshop Laser Cutting: Holiday Decoration 

The Lab will be open to the public for a mini-workshop where participants can create a personalized Laser Cut Holiday Decoration. Participants can come and go at any time. The workshop is FREE, no registration required.
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location:
NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address:
10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Find more information at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html

VEX Community Teams and Friday Night Robotics


VEX Community Teams (VRC & VEXIQ)
Registration Closes Oct 15 http://vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register

VRC (VEX Robotics Competition) Teams
Participants will build MOBY, a VRC robot to compete in the VRC game Tipping Point. Students will learn how to compete in the VRC yearly competition, make an engineering notebook to document team decisions on robot design, develop a game strategy and create an autonomous program to play the game. This session is perfect for students who want to compete in robotics.

After students learn the game, develop a game strategy, and have a solid foundation of engineering and programming, they will be allowed to make advanced modifications to their robot as well as explore more advanced programming features to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their robot on the field.

In addition to the weekly meetings there are Friday Night Robotics in the Fab Lab (every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month) where it is open to any teams to come build, program and scrimmage. This is optional for the community teams but encouraged.

There will be opportunities to compete in robotics competitions as well and teams can register for an additional fee to participate.

Oct 5 through Dec 14, 2021 on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm at the NOVA Manassas Trailside Building.

Grade Level: 6th to 10th

Registration Fee $349 ($50 discount when you register 2 people)
http://vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register

VEX IQ (VIQC) Teams
Participants will continue building FLING, a VIQC robot to compete in the VIQC game Pitching In. Students will learn how to compete in the yearly challenge, make an engineering notebook to document team decisions on robot design, develop a game strategy and create an autonomous program to play the game. This session is perfect for students who want to compete in robotics.

After students learn the game, develop a game strategy, and have a solid foundation of engineering and programming, they will be allowed to make advanced modifications to their robot as well as explore more advanced programming features to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their robot on the field.

In addition to the weekly meetings there are Friday Night Robotics in the Fab Lab (every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month) where it is open to any teams to come build, program and scrimmage. This is optional for the community teams but encouraged.

There will be opportunities to compete in robotics competitions as well and teams can register for an additional fee to participate.

Oct 7 through Dec 16, 2021 on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm at the NOVA Manassas Trailside Building.

Grade Level: 4th to 8th

Registration Fee $349 ($50 discount when you register 2 people)
http://vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register


Friday Night Robotics at the NOVA Fab Lab

The NOVA Fab Lab is open on Friday nights for VEX teams to scrimmage and work on their robots throughout the year.

The 1st and 3rd Friday’s of the month are designated for VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) teams and the 2nd and 4th Friday’s for VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) teams.  A game field will be available along with space for teams to work.

Sessions will start on Sept 17 from 5 to 10 pm and continue until the Virginia State VEX Championship in March 2021.

A one-time registration fee of $10 per participant is required for this recurring event at fablab.novastem.us/FridayNightRobotics (NOTE: Parental consent is required in the registration process as each participant needs to register – coaches cannot sign-up their entire team in one registration).

#WeDoSTEM

VA Ranked #1 State for Tech Talent Pipeline

Virginia ranks as the “Best Business Climate” and the “Top Tech Talent Pipeline” in the nation, according to Business Facilities’ 17th Annual Rankings Report, released this week. Home to the largest concentration of data centers in the world, Virginia also tops the magazine’s “Cybersecurity Leaders” chart.

“Virginia has undertaken the most impressive effort in the U.S. to fill the national shortage of skilled workers in the data-centric sectors that are driving economic growth in the 21st century,” said Jack Rogers, editor-in-chief of Business Facilities.

“World-class universities are partnering with industry giants to add thousands of new computer science grads to Virginia’s rapidly expanding tech workforce. This combination positions Virginia to defend its tech talent pipeline leadership for years to come,” Rogers added.

California, New York, North Carolina and Maryland round out the top five, respectively, in Business Facilities’ new Tech Talent Pipeline state ranking, which evaluates each state’s tech talent investments, STEM-oriented education programs and partnerships between industry, universities and EDOs, among other weighted factors.

Business Facilities noted that Virginia is injecting more than $2 billion into a Tech Talent Investment Program that cumulatively represents the largest state commitment to computer science education, aiming to create an additional 31,000 computer science graduates in the Commonwealth while strengthening computer science programs at the elementary and secondary school levels.

Click here to download the full report.

Official Tweet from NOVA IET

#WeDoSTEM

Fab Lab Events March – April 2021

NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge 

The NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge is due April 15! The Challenge is to invent and design a product which transforms typical household items or materials into a toy or game.  

Open to middle school, high school, and college students.  Grand prize winner will receive a 3D Printer, design software, and fabrication of their product!  For more details visit www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html


Virtual Fab Lab Tours 

Would you like to learn more about the NOVA Fab Lab? Then attend a virtual tour and live information session. You will have an opportunity to ask questions, see images and videos of lab activities, and receive an overview of Fab Lab programs.  Free and open to the public. April 29 and May 21.

Register at http://steminar.novastem.us/Register 


NOVA Fab Lab Presents at the ACCT National Legislative Summit

On February 8 the NOVA Fab Lab had the opportunity of presenting a live virtual Design Challenge at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) National Legislative Summit.  Participants were given time to collaborate on an interactive whiteboard to brainstorm ideas for a SWAG (promotional item) alternative that illustrates the awesomeness of Community College education.  One solution was chosen: a business card like multi-tool, with QR code linking to the college website, and the catchphrase – Instant degree…just add time.  As participants finalized the design, the multi-tool was quickly prototyped and created on a laser cutter via live video!  

 

Virtual STEMinars Wrap-Up

Our virtual spring STEMinars recently concluded with a total of 1,509 participants in over 48 different topic sessions.  Virtual sessions were offered on coding, cybersecurity, laser engraving, 3D printing, digital design, robotics, and cloud computing.

Participants included K-12 students, college students, community members, NOVA faculty/staff, and some national and international participants.  Session facilitators included NOVA faculty and NOVA Fab Lab staff, and Cybersecurity sessions were offered in partnership with the ISACA Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter.

New sessions are scheduled to be offered in the fall. https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic/steminars.html

NOVA Fab Lab PPE Donated in Fight Against COVID-19

During the the COVID-19 crisis we were eager to use our new Fab-Lab capabilities to design and manufacture DIY face shields for the citizens on the front lines. However, with the Lab closed and access to machinery limited we faced some hurdles. We decided to design, prototype, and fabricate two entirely different versions that could be made simultaneously on separate machines. This has allowed us to double our anticipated production even while working remotely.

On May 29, we delivered NOVA Fab Lab crafted PPE to the oncology team at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. NOVA Systemic Fab Lab guru Richard Sewell assembled 300 (plus more to come) Laser-Cut Cast-Acrylic Face Shields and Gerry Hofler from the NOVA Medical Education Campus facilitated the delivery.

For more details check out the Fab Lab PPE blog at: https://nvccppe.wixsite.com/fablab

NOVA Fab Lab Staff producing PPE Masks!

Being makers and designers at heart, the staff at NOVA’s Fab-Lab wanted to do their part during this crisis by manufacturing DIY face shields for the citizens on the front lines. However, with our Lab closed and access to machinery limited we faced many hurdles. Since our portable equipment would struggle to keep up with demand, and raw materials were already in short supply we took the initiate of designing two different versions that could be made simultaneously. We can now make five laser-cut versions in the time it takes to make one 3D printed model. Since we have five 3D printers in circulation and one laser cutter, we can produce approximately 100 shields a day.

We have just started full production and can’t wait to distribute our first batch to those in need!

More info will be on next months IET Interface Newsletter