Category Archives: NOVA Makers

Fab Lab April 2023

Fab Lab Offerings

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.


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


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: 

Submit an entry


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 sessions are now available on Saturday mornings from 9am-12pm.

Activities Include:

  • Laser-Cut Birdhouse | April 15 – $25 (2 spots lefts!)
  • Animatronic Stuffed Animal | April 29 – $30 (FULL)

Register at: 

Flyer – Jr Makers SPR23 1P AC

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. ONLY open to high school students/teachers, NOVA students, and NOVA faculty/staff.

Members have access to 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, a UV flatbed printer, a large format printer/cutter, and a plastic thermoforming center.

How do I join?

Membership is initiated upon signing-up to become a Maker  and by demonstrating an understanding of our rules and regulations by completing the online orientation session, and subsequently passing a quiz. The orientation and quiz can be found by enrolling in our NOVA Makers Canvas course at the links below.

NOVA Students, Faculty, and Staff
High School Students

Member are free to use the lab during open lab hours and may use machines as they get certified. More details on this program can be found in the Membership Handbook.

Member Open Labs

Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays | 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fridays |9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 5:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Saturdays | 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Fab Lab Activities in November

Sign Up For Our November Workshops!

Sewing Machine 101
Do you want to learn how to use a sewing machine? We can teach you how! Bring your sewing machine or learn on one of ours. In this workshop, we will show you how to use a sewing machine from winding a bobbin, to threading your machine, to sewing your first project – a drawstring bag. You’ll leave feeling confident that you can sew on your own!
Mon 11/15: 6:00-8:30 pm
Click HERE for more info and to register.


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)

NOVA Makers
NOVA Makers is a program at the NOVA Fab Lab in which members can use the lab to work on personal projects, participate in regional/national design challenges, and/or gain more skills in a Maker community setting. Currently the technologies available for projects are additive manufacturing (3D printing), laser cutting/engraving, and hand tools.  A NOVA Fab Lab membership, a safety and orientation training, and machine specific certifications are provided and required as part of this program.  Membership is open to NOVA college students, faculty & staff, and high school students.  Find more information at