Makerspaces

About

Announcement! We are looking for new mentors and lead team members for the Fall '22 semester! Apply now!

Located on the Basement level of Benedum Hall, the University of Pittsburgh Makerspace is dedicated to helping students of all majors and disciplines as well as staff and faculty to gain hands-on experience in design and fabrication. The Pitt Makerspace strives to provide a safe and collaborative environment with suitable facilities for collaboration, learning, design, and fabrication. By gaining entry to the Makerspace, our users have access to a wide range of well-maintained equipment and useful training, helping to catalyze the design and creation of the most creative and advanced technological projects at Pitt.​

We offer many events like workshops, competitions, and a speaker series. Our workshops teach members new and interesting skills to supplement classroom learning with hands on experience. Our competitions allow users to display all the skills and knowledge they have learned against others in the community. The University and greater Pittsburgh area hosts many influential engineering and entrepreneurial figures; we recruit professors and industry professionals to give presentations as part of our speaker series about their experience and expertise.

We have mentors on duty during open hours to train any user on our state of the art machines. There are tools and supplies for prototyping any project, be it academic, Makerspace sponsored, or personal. We encourage interested students, staff, and faculty to stop by or reach out to find what opportunities we have for you!

Spring 2022 Open Hours:

Walk-in safety/machine trainings welcome.

Monday -

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

10a - 8p

10a - 5p

12pm - 3p

2p - 6p

Our Spaces

Innovation Space Station
(ISS)

Located in room B06A, the ISS is perfect for any early project stages and can be used for ideation and creating rough prototypes.

Equipment and materials include:
  • Assorted low-res prototyping materials
  • Hand tools, drills, and drivers
  • 12 Ender 3 3D printers
  • Vinyl cutter and heat press
  • Soldering and electronics station
  • Sewing machine

Treehouse

Next door in room B02, the Treehouse is our digital fabrication lab, a perfect place to come continue your project once you begin creating designs and CAD.

Equipment and materials include:
  • Two laser cutters
  • Two X-Carve CNC routers
  • Woods and acrylics of various types, thicknesses, and colors
  • Two TAZ 6 3D printers
  • Two Othermill PCB CNC routers
  • Toolchest with standard hand tools

Bioengineering Underground (BiU)

Previously a Bioengineering-only space, the BiU in room B09 is now open to all Pitt students, while still supporting Bioengineering classes.

Equipment and materials include:
  • Two TAZ 6 3D printers
  • Cellink BioPrinter
  • Two Othermill PCB CNC routers
  • Two sewing machines
  • Assorted low-res prototyping materials
  • Hand tools, drills, and drivers

Get Trained

Students can drop in during any open hours in the ISS or BiU to complete our basic ISS/BiU safety training. This consists of a short safety presentation by the mentor, and a quick safety quiz. Alternatively, you can watch the safety presentation here, and afterwards, take the quiz here.

After you have completed the quiz, you will be required to complete an Open Swim, a quick hands-on training on drills and drivers.​

Completing the Open Swim gives students access to the our spaces during operational hours and allows them to use basic prototyping materials. However, specialized machines such as the 3D printer, vinyl cutter, and soldering iron will require separate training to operate. Any mentor on duty may be able to train you, or help you get in touch with a mentor who can.

In order to use the machines in the Treehouse (laser cutters and X-Carve CNC machines), you must complete a different Treehouse safety training, as well as an Open Swim. We currently hold Treehouse trainings on Mondays at 3pm, Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesdays at 7pm, Thursdays at 7pm, and Fridays at 12pm. No reservation is required, but make sure to arrive on time, as the training takes an hour.

Events

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the makerspaces?

Any current Pitt student (undergraduate and graduate) can use our spaces and materials free of charge!

What time are the makerspaces open?

All open hours are posted on the webstite!

I'm a BioE student, I still get access to B09 right?

All BioE students still have swipe access to B09 and may use the space whenever Benedum is open, BUT you must:
  • have passed the ISS/BiU safety training
  • be respectful of classes and the spaces
  • follow all of our safety rules while in the space
Note that during BioE only hours the back room with the 3D printers will be locked. The back room will only be open during our regular open hours when the space is staffed by a mentor.

How can I get trained on the 3D printer/lasercutter/any other machine?  

Once you have completed the basic ISS/BiU safety training, you can attend open hours and ask the mentor on duty to be trained on the 3D printers.​

The laser cutter and X-Carve trainings are covered in the Treehouse training. Treehouse trainings are only offered in-person, and take 1 hour. Treehouse training times are posted on the website!

For any other machine, find a mentor that offers that training on LibCal by hovering over the mentors’ names for a list of trainings they offer, and attending their hours when they’re in the same room as the machine.

Can I use materials other than the ones provided in the spaces?

It depends, if you want to use your own materials that is not one of the materials we provide, you must get it approved by Brandon Barber. You can DM him in the Slack or email him at brandon.barber@pitt.edu.

Where can I laser cut metal?

You can get metal laser cut for certain projects with the Swanson Center for Product Innovation (SCPI), which is the machine shop in Benedum. Contact Andy Holmes at aholmes@pitt.edu for more information.

I have a time crunch on my project, can a mentor print/cut my project for me this weekend?

The spaces are open over the weekend.

Resources

PittCAD

  • The makerspace now has a Thingiverse account for students to upload 3D models to!
  • Check out the PittCAD page here to learn more

Coreldraw

  • To properly format files to be laser cut, vinyl cut, or routed by the X-Carve, you will need CorelDRAW, a graphics editor program
  • CorelDRAW is free to download for all Pitt students through Pitt's software download service
  • If you have a Windows computer, choose any version what runs on your computer​
  • If you have a Mac, you will need a virtual machine program such as Parallels (also available from the software download service) to run CorelDRAW
  • All of the computers in the makerspaces have CorelDRAW, but we encourage you to have the application yourself if you are able to
  • CorelDRAW Walkthrough, a guide on how to prepare DXFs in CorelDRAW​
  • Image Editing CorelDRAW guide, a guide on how to turn a regular image into a vector file ready to be cut

3D Printing