Category Archives: NOVA Fab Lab

Fab Lab Jan 2024

Fab Lab Offerings


NOVA Makers

NOVA Makers is a membership program, which opens the NOVA Fab Lab to NOVA Students, Faculty and Staff to work on personal projects during our Open Labs.

How does it work?

  1. Enroll in the NOVA Makers Course on Canvas.
  2. On Canvas, pass the online Safety Orientation Certification and fill out the release form, which will make you an official member!
  3. Come-in during open lab hours to use machines and equipment. If it is your first time visiting or you need some help, ask a NOVA Fab Lab staff member for assistance.

Membership Fee

NOVA Makers is free for NOVA students, faculty, and staff.

NOVA Makers Open Lab Hours

Monday | 5pm – 9pm
Tuesday | 1pm – 5pm
Wednesday | 1pm – 5pm
Thursday | 5pm – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 12pm, 5pm – 9pm


Product Design Incubator:

Do you have a brilliant idea for a new product? The NOVA Fab Lab is hosting a Product Design Incubator for NOVA students to learn design thinking, develop entrepreneurial skills, and prototype and build a product at the NOVA Fab Lab.

PDI participants will:

  • Learn entrepreneurship skills during 6 spring workshops.
  • Design and protype a product during a summer product design incubator.
  • Pitch a product to regional entrepreneurs
  • Receive a $3000 stipend for completion

You can complete a apply PDI application at fablab.novastem.us/PDIapply

PDI is possible thanks to a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant.


 NOVA’s Junior Makers program creates a fun, social environment for our youngest generation of makers to be introduced to fabrication and to build confidence in their STEM and problem-solving skills!

We offer a wide range of topics and activities for 4th-8th grade students to create a unique project with their parent or guardian.

Spring 2024 sessions are now available on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. For full details and registration, visit fablab.novastem.us/JrMaker

Activities:

February 10 – Casting Chocolate Legos (Vacuum Forming)

 February 24 – Soft Circuit Creatures (Circuitry & Hand Sewing) 

 March 9 – Build a Mini Greenhouse (Wood Working & Vacuum Forming)

March 23 – Animatronics Stuffed Animal (Coding & Microelectronics)

 April 6 – 3D Print a Monster (Clay Modeling & 3D Printing)

 April 20 – T-Shirt & Jewelry (UV Printing & Laser Cutting)

 May 4 – Build a Birdhouse – NEW! (Wood Working and Painting)

 May 18 – Stomp Rockets – NEW! (Design Thinking and Fabrication)

 June 1 – Laser Cut Airplanes – NEW! (Laser Cutting)

 June 15 – Sew a Custom Handbag – NEW! (Machine Sewing)

Spring Fab Lab Design Challenge Winners Awarded

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring ’23 NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge!

The theme for this semester was Upcycling, where we challenged college, high school, and middle school students to use their innovative skills to design a product that reuses discarded objects or materials to create a product of usefulness and quality.

Grand prize winners Anirudh Holavanahalli, Rohan Matta, and Ajay Penugonda designed tires into a functional bookshelf, called “HigherTire”. They were awarded $1000 to split and their product was fabricated by the Fab Lab staff.

Anirudh Holavanahalli reflected “I like the concept of the design challenge and I’m also happy with the design that we as a team created. We reused old tires and added some wood and mechanics. I really like how the design looks, it’s hard to create. [The fabrication] looks exact and identical.

Fellow grand champion Rohan Matta added “I really like the design challenge because you don’t really see these types of upcycle designs, where it’s not just about how cool it looks. I never thought the final product would come out this good.”
Northern Virginia Community College students were well represented in the post-secondary division. Champion Makayla Draper participated in her second design challenge, also winning last Fall, and said she enjoyed “the theory aspect of this challenge.” Fellow NOVA compatriot Joe Le Sage also enjoyed the challenge, saying “it was fun to participate. I needed an excuse to design something and this was a good excuse.”

Mary Ratcliff, one of our Fab Lab Coordinators, started at NOVA in the fall and from week one was involved in conceptualizing the upcycling idea for the challenge and spearheading the logistics of communicating with participants and fabricating the product alongside Fab Lab Coordinator Richard Sewell and technician David Burn.

Ratcliff said “the Spring Design Challenge Awards Ceremony was a celebration of creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness. Winners from middle school, high school, and post-secondary divisions were honored for their imaginative, yet practical applications of upcycling. Wood pallets, CDs, and plastic bottles were just a few of the transformed materials incorporated into the winning designs. Congratulations to all Spring Design Challenge participants!”

One of the judges, John Hicks, owner of Fillagreen, loved the sustainability potential for upcycled products and reflected on his involvement:

“It was a great experience to see the creativity and thought leaders in today’s students. I look forward to seeing the great positive impact these participants will make on the world! Sustainability is within reach and is attainable through small steps.”

Thank you to our sponsors and community partners BAE Systems, Inc., Micron Technology, and Fillagreen as well as our judges John Hicks, David Tuohey, and Jim Crane.

We will be announcing our next Fab Lab Design Challenge in the Fall. For updates sign up for our monthly IET Newsletter at newsletter.novastem.us

#WeDoSTEM #DesignThinking #Upcycling

PDI Completes Inaugural Cohort with Pitch Event

On Friday, June16th students from the Fab Lab’s inaugural Product Design Incubator (PDI) presented their product pitches to an audience of faculty, staff, and industry guests.

PDI is a project designed to train groups of community college students through a product design challenge. The PDI curriculum integrates entrepreneurship training and design thinking to guide students from initial ideation through the prototyping and pitch processes. PDI increases contact between students and industry professionals, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration between NOVA students and staff, and increases the supply of IET workers with industry-required collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills.

At the pitch event, student groups met informally with guests during a networking event, then gave formal 10-minute pitches. Two product prototypes were presented: Student Rise, a student-led recruitment service for internships; and Novagation, a mobile indoor navigation app for college campuses.

Isaiah Harris, a PDI student who helmed Novigation, said “PDI is a great opportunity because it puts you in contact with so many people in the industry and it allows you to learn so many different skills from business to marketing to product design and creative thinking. Definitely recommended. It really allows you to work as a team and will help you figure out what your strengths are and also how to improve upon your weaknesses.”

Tina Dang, another PDI student added “I’ve been able to meet some amazing people in PDI. It has taught me how to communicate better and learn how to adapt in difficult situations and has also allowed my creativity to expand.”

As far as the advisors, Fab Lab Coordinator Richard Sewell praised what the students achieved: “I’m immensely proud of the work that students accomplished during their time at the Lab. They’ve all shown tremendous growth in their ability to collaborate, innovate, and design.”

In addition, NOVA associate professor of business and PDI advisor Cameisha Chin embarked that “each project presented was clear, compelling, and commercially viable. Students demonstrated both an entrepreneurial spirit and a shrewd business sense.”

For more on PDI in general, click here.

 

Fall Design Challenge Winners Awarded

 

The NOVA Fab Lab held an in-person awards ceremony on Friday, February 26th, to recognize the Fall 2022 Design Challenge winners. Winning students received their certificates and prizes, networked with judges and sponsors, and toured NOVA’s state-of-the-art Fab Lab after the event, where the challenge submissions were on display.

The Fab Lab holds the Design Challenge twice a year, so this ceremony was to honor students who participated in the Fall 2022 event. (The Spring 2023 challenge is soon to be announced). Of the two challenges each year, one is geared more towards design and the other is focused more on fabrication.

The Fall 2022 challenge was for middle school, high school, or college students to fabricate a replica of their favorite science fiction prop, which proved to be a popular topic. As scientists, artists, engineers, and inventors the Fab Lab staff believe the foundation of prop making, especially in science fiction requires a seamless blend of innovation, problem solving, creativity, and craft.

Students submitted their designs and design process online, then submissions were narrowed down to a final number of select projects. From there students fabricated their own props and brought them in to the Fab Lab, where winners were selected from a panel of industry judges.

There were 3 categories for award winners: College/University, High School, and Middle School. First place winners in each category received $250 plus a 3D-Printer and accessories. Second-place winners received $250, and third-place winners took home a $100 prize.

Middle School Winners:

1st Place: Max Choe, Kilmer Middle School.
Submission: “Drill to the Upside Down” from Stranger Things (3D-printed).

2nd Place: Christopher Jones, Robinson Secondary School.
Submission: Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber from Star Wars: A New Hope (3D-printed).

3rd Place: Henry Eckholdt, Saunders Middle School.
Submission: Imperial Star Destroyer from the original Star Wars trilogy (3D-printed).

High School Winners:

1st Place: Jason Armstrong, Home School.
Submission: The Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future (Fabricated from Wood, Acrylic, and PVC),

2nd Place: Mihai Ziu, Home School.
Submission: Iron Man Mark 42 Helmet from Iron Man 3 (3D-Printed).

3rd Place: Jack Register, Manassas Park High School.
Submission: Marty McFly’s Hoverboard from Back to the Future 2 (Mixed Media).

College Winners:

1st Place: Bruce Escalante, NOVA.
Submission: The Lament Configuration Box from Hellraiser (Fabricated from Wood).

2nd Place: Makayla Draper, NOVA
Submission: Luke and Yoda’s Dagobah Lamp from The Empire Strikes Back (3D-Printed, Acrylic).

3rd Place: Sunmeet Maheshwari, NOVA
Submission: Thor’s Hammer from Avengers: Endgame (3D-printed, Leather).

Honorable Mention:
Alek Merkt, Stone Bridge High School
Stuti Aryal, Woodbridge Senior High School
Rian Doyle, Washington-Liberty High School
Christopher Robinson, NOVA

NOVA student and College division winner Bruce Escalante said “It was a really fun challenge, it helped me learn about myself and my abilities. It definitely helped me to be more problem-solving.”

Fellow NOVA student and second-place college division winner Makayla Draper reflected that the Design Challenge “allows you to think out-of-the-box and use techniques that you are getting from school. It’s a really good learning experience.”

Sunmeet Maheshwarim, another NOVA Design Challenge award winner, added “It’s one of the amazing competitions which gives you experience on the engineering side and also creativity.”

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.

“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.

Sponsors for the Design Challenge were BAE Systems, Micron, and Lockheed Martin.

More information about the Spring 2023 Design Challenge will be available on the NOVA Fab Lab page by mid -March, as well as on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages. #WeDoSTEM #DesignThinking

Spring 2023 Fab Lab Design Challenge

The Brief

Upcycling is creative reuse; it is the process of taking something considered as “junk” and transforming it into something useful and often beautiful. Upcycling reveals how we can reuse everyday objects and think critically and creatively about the world around us. In the past, we have seen plastic bags woven into rugs, swings made with old tires, bike racks made from scrap bike parts, and furniture crafted from shipping pallets. How can the functional objects, structures, and spaces in your community be reimagined through upcycling or what useful, upcycled product can you provide your community?

The Challenge

 Design an upcycled product linked to your community.

Dates

Wednesday, March 15 – Design Submission Portal Opens
Sunday, April 30 – Design Submission Portal Closes
Tuesday, May 16 – Finalists will be Announced
June – Award Ceremony

Prizes

Grand Champion – $1,000 and we will fabricate a scale model of your design.
*Division Champions – $500
*Division Honorable Mentions – $250

*Divisions are: Middle School, High School, and Post-Secondary

Learn More about to the Spring 2023 Challenge at: https://www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html 

Submit an entry

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

SySTEMic Fellowship

The SySTEMic Fellowship is a 10-month paid program designed to develop high school students, college students, and professional educators through hands-on experiences and training on vital STEM content with the opportunity to apply these concepts outside of the classroom to promote STEM education in Northern Virginia.

Those admitted to the program will choose one of three fields of focus: Fab Lab Makers, Robotics, and Micro Electronics. The program contains training sessions on the chosen field of focus, opportunities to contribute to existing programs, as well as a call to action to continue to implement ideas learned in the fellowship.

Training for Fellowships are scheduled for Sept 17 and Oct 1, 2022.

For more info contact Natasha Shuh-Nuhfer at nschuhnuhfer@nvcc.edu 

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, The IET Interface, at http://newsletter.novastem.us to keep up with application information and other STEM fellowship opportunities at NOVA.

Design Thinking Fellowship at the Fab Lab

Saturday May 7th marked the last day of professional learning for the educators in the Design Thinking Fellowship! Teams had worked over the semester to design a LEGO storage solution for a user with specific needs, and this was their chance to prototype and test their ideas.

After all this preparation, educators built small scale “rough prototypes” of their designs using cardboard, hot glue, and common crafting materials. Fellows then gathered testing data from their prototypes before presenting their work and explaining their thinking to their peers.

Next, fellows will be practicing teaching what they learned during SySTEMic’s digital fabrication summer camps. Working in groups of three, educators will deliver modified version of the LEGO challenge they just completed to elementary and middle school students across the region.

Fellow Dahlia Henry-Tett, NOVA faculty, reflected on the experience:

“We have to be in the place of a student more frequently. We sometimes forget what it fills like to start, to try things in a different way. Being here as an instructor, as a teacher, allows me to feel like a student again, to see the struggles that they’re going through, trying to create things. It allows me to be better as a professional. Also the skills I’m learning for Design Thinking will carry into my classroom and allow me to use a different method that will help these students think differently about how to approach things.”

DCO Tech Externship Educators Tour Micron and Stack

Engineering technology teachers, counselors, and administrators had the opportunity to tour Micron and Stack Infrastructure this month as part of a NOVA Secondary Educator Externship to help guide students into Engineering Technology careers. There are more tours available for June.

This Externship program is a component of an NSF funded grant awarded to NOVA to expand the pipeline of students preparing for careers in engineering technology. It helps teachers, counselors, and administrators develop first-hand knowledge of engineering technology through higher education and industry connections.

Participants tour local facilities, engage in discussions with industry and higher education leaders, and develop a plan to guide their students to careers in engineering technology.

Participants must participate in a tour of Micron Technology in Manassas and STACK Infrastructure in Ashburn as well as tour NOVA’s Fab Lab and engage in discussion about NOVA programs.

Students who completed NOVA’s Career and Leadership Readiness Institute have been invited to join the externship participants to learn about engineering technology careers and opportunities with industry partners.

Tours of Micron Technology and STACK Infrastructure were held in April and May. The Secondary Externship application is still available, with final tour dates of both sites scheduled for the end of June.

For more information go to iet.novastem.us/Externship2

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