Taking a Class on Digital Making/3D Printing

During my time as an Illinois student, I’ve made an active effort not to let my Finance and Information Systems degrees limit my exposure to other interesting subject areas. I once took an English class that exclusively focused on how animals are portrayed in literature. I was also briefly enrolled in a design class, and I’ve dabbled in neuroscience as well. I suppose you could say that I’m a jack of all trades, but a master of none.

This semester, I’m continuing the exploration process with BADM 395: a seminar taught by Professor Vishal Sachdev, the director of the Illinois MakerLab. I knew a bit about 3D printing and the MakerLab (discussed in a previous post) but this course has really introduced me to a whole new dimension of digital making, which extends far beyond just 3D printing. The core of the “maker movement” is that you can truly make anything through sharing and collaboration.

A 3D printed page holder tool in the works!
The final product!

I’ve had the chance to tinker around with various software and model designs, but the class isn’t as technical as one might assume. We’ve heard from a variety of guest speakers on topics ranging from biohacking (think about growing a human ear in a petri dish) to intellectual property, and how it’s changing in response to the 3D printing revolution. In addition to the weekly discussions, we get the chance to work on a semester-long project, and we will pitch our final ideas to industry experts for feedback.

I’m really excited to see what we end up accomplishing by the end of the course, and I’ll be sure to update all of you as well. For those of you who are interested in learning more about the maker communities on campus, I’ve listed a few resources below:

  • Illinois MakerLab: The world’s first business school 3D printing lab operates under the motto “Learn, Make, Share.” Students can attend workshops and print their own designs during lab hours.
  • Champaign-Urbana Fabrication Lab: The CU Fab Lab is a collaborative workshop space on campus equipped with a variety of tools (laser engravers, CNC routers, 3D printers and 3D scanners, electronic cutters, digital textile machines, small board electronics, robotics, vacuum formers, graphic drawing tablets, advanced CAD software… You name it!) You can reference this blog post by Samantha for some inspiration on cool project ideas. Like the MakerLab, it is open to all!
You can use lasers to custom engrave your notebook!
(from CU Fab Lab website)
You can even screen print your own tshirt designs
(from CU Fab Lab website)

I’d highly recommend checking out either of these facilities during a campus visit. Both labs have plenty of assistants to help you out if you’re new to digital making, and there truly is something for everyone.



Class of 2018
I'm studying both Finance and Information Systems and Information Technology in the Gies College of Business. I’m from Los Altos, California.