What is the TechLab?
The TechLab provides members of the Caltech community unfettered hands-on access to innovative technologies ranging from 3D printing and scanning to circuit board manipulations and more!
The TechLab includes a range of selected equipment related to prototyping and modeling, including a variety of 3D printers, as well as Arduino boards and Raspberry Pi's.
TechLab staff will provide training classes and on-site orientation and guidance in the use of the equipment. The two computers outside the TechLab are equipped with software used to create and manipulate 3D images for printing, including but not limited to Solidworks, Simplify3D, Cura, and Meshmixer. Publicly accessible workstations throughout the Library also provide access to SolidWorks.
Who can use the TechLab?
TechLab services are available to members of the Caltech community, including students, postdoctoral associates, faculty, and staff. If you are affiliated with a department but do not fall under these categories, please contact us for more information.
Where is the TechLab located?
The TechLab is located on the first floor of Sherman Fairchild Library, room 131. It is on the east side next to the stairwell.
When is the TechLab open?
The lab is open to registered users during regular library business hours, Monday-Friday, 8am to 5p. Registered users may also access the lab after-hours and on the weekends by checking out a key at the circulation desk. Staff is on-call, Monday through Friday, 3pm to 5pm, for drop-in office hours. Contact us to schedule an orientation/register.
Contact us to schedule an orientation/register.
Does it cost anything to use the Lab?
Currently, no. The opening of the TechLab was funded by the Moore-Hufstedler fund through the 2016 academic year and is now being generously supported by the Caltech Library, so there is currently no cost for members of the Caltech community to use its facilities.
Are there restrictions on what can be printed in the TechLab?
The TechLab does not allow printing of weapons or offensive material. 3D printing is also subject to copyright restrictions, just as with regular printers and photocopiers. Please be sure that you are allowed to be reproducing or printing your object. For more information please see the copyright notice on 3D printing developed by the American Library Association.
What kind of equipment is in the Techlab?
We currently have 10 FDM printers in operation, please see our 3D Printing page for more info.
What kind of material is available?
We provide PLA (polylactic acid) filament for printing. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources (primarily corn starch), and is not considered a hazardous material. We do not provide ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) for printing, as we do not have the appropriate ventilation for it and fumes from printing may cause irritation. If you're interested in trying a different material, we have a few select specialty filaments available in TechLab 2. Please contact us for more info.
Are the fumes in the TechLab dangerous?
No, the slight smell you may experience is not dangerous. It should not cause any irritation to your eyes or lungs. If you do experience discomfort, please leave the room immediately and let a Library staff member know.
How do I become a registered user of the TechLab?
Please see our Contact Us page to schedule an orientation