Experience / Dream It, Design It, Fab It!

Making, Your Way

Additional Resources

Fab Lab Information and Places to Make  

Fab Labs began as a community outreach program of the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and have spread worldwide:

Check out places to make things around Chicago:

Resources for Digital Design and Making

In the Fab Lab we using cutting-edge software and equipment that allows you to dream up, design and make almost anything you can imagine. A lot of times we design on computers (CAD: computer-aided design) and building with computer-controlled machines (CAM: computer-aided manufacturing). Below is a list of sites or software used or found useful by the Fab Lab.

Free software used in workshops

Free 2D design software

  • Inkscape: Powerful vector-based graphics tool
  • Ink/Stitch: open-source digital embroidery design software
  • SophieSew: Digital embroidery software
  • Gimp: Pixel-based graphics tool (best for photographic files)
  • Pixlr: Web-based (and desktop) bitmap editing software
  • MakerCase: Generate SVG files for making boxes

Free 3D design software

  • TinkerCAD: Cloud-based modeling environment
  • Shapeshifter: Cloud-based parametric 3D modeling
  • OnShape: Cloud-based CAD for precise designs and assemblies
  • NetFabb: 3D model repair software (free to students and educators)
  • Meshmixer: Software for manipulated 3D files
  • MeshLab: For editing 3D files for printing
  • OpenSCAD: Parametric code-based 3D modeling environment
  • BlocksCAD: A drag-and-drop 3D modeling tool
  • SketchUp: 3D modeling software for professionals
  • Clara: Cloud-based modeling, rendering and animation environment
  • Blender: Modeling, animation, rendering and game creation

Digital fabrication sites

  • Thingiverse: For sharing 2D and 3D objects
  • Shapeways: For sharing, buying and selling 3D objects
  • Ponoko: For sharing, buying and selling projects
  • 3D Hubs: Local manufacturing services (3D printing, CNC machining, etc.)

Sites change often and we apologize for any non-functioning links. Also: although we do use these sites, we don't officially endorse them.