ArtsFebruary 10, 2011 at 2:30 am

The Fab(ulous) Hideout

Are you cut–out for it?

Adrian Franco | 34st Magazine

What lies in room 409 of Meyerson Hall might come as a shock to some: grinders, milling machines, 3D printers, laser cutter, saws of every kind, a vacu–former, a vacuum press, a vacuu–anything. But for a certain group, room 409 — the Fab Lab — is where 2D dreams become three–dimensional reality.

First, there are some rules. To enter the Fab Lab, safety goggles are a must, and a student should be enrolled in an appropriate architecture, painting or sculpture class in order to gain access. Safety training is also required before using any of the equipment. But once you’re there, you might never want to leave.

Adrian Franco | 34st MagazineNot only is the Fab Lab, you know, fabulous, but it’s also a fabrication laboratory. It’s where landscape students carve out model topographies and where design students cut shapes and tiles. According to Fab Lab manager Dennis Pierattini, the lab is where design students create their versions of term papers, it’s “practical execution of classroom theory.”

Adrian Franco | 34st MagazineOtherwise, bonding during work hours can be limited ­­— you don’t want too many distractions while you’re operating heavy machinery. Incidentally, the lab is closed after 4p.m. on Fridays, before the PennDesign happy hour starts (it’s against lab law to drink and wield power tools).

Most of the time, the Fab Lab is a calm place. The drone of the machines carries out of room 409; grads and undergrads are hard at work and exemplary projects hang around the machines that helped to bring them to life. The lab has equipment to make almost anything — there is even a diamond saw. “It’s all about communication,” Pierattini says. “You can do it with words; you can do it with pictures.” Or you can do it with a bad–ass 3D printer.

Editor’s Note: A paragraph was removed due to a quotation error.

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