Equipment & Resources

Digital Fabrication at your fingertips.
Explore the pages below for more information about the tools, machines, and materials available to you. Make sure to visit our Eventbrite and follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on events and authorization workshops.

3D Printing

Our 3D printers are our most popular and most often used machines. Use of 3D printers is available to all students upon completion of an authorization workshop.

Get printing!

Laser Cutting

Our laser cutters are some of the most powerful and versatile machines in the space. As such, you are required to take an authorization workshop in order to use them.

Learn more!

CNC Milling

CNC mills are great for creating detailed, precision cuts and carves into wood and plastic. We require that you take an authorization workshop to stay safe while using them.

Start milling!

Wood Shop

The IRL is equipped with all the tools you need to assemble furniture, create film sets, and finish your CNC-carved projects. Wood shop equipment is highly dangerous, and many (but not all) tools require authorization.

Learn more!

Vinyl Cutting

Learn how to make custom stickers, decals, and even cut out your own temporary tattoos at the IRL.

Get plotting!

Textiles and Sewing

Want to make some patterned pajama shorts, a new satchel for all those heavy textbooks, or knit a scarf for those harsh Chicago winters? The IRL is your one stop shop for all your sewing and embroidery needs.

Start sewing!

Screen Printing

Ever dreamed of printing your own posters, or making shirts for your band or club? Come check out our screen printing equipment and get your artwork out there.

Start printing!

Circuitry and Soldering

From soldering simple LED circuit boards, to making interactive physical games with Amazon Dash buttons and Makey Makey kits, the IRL is the place to be to experiment with electronics.

Solder now!

Plastics and Heat Forming

Looking to vacuum-form small objects for stop-motion props, or want to cut some EVA foam for that cosplay? Check out our plastics and heat-forming area and make something cool.

What's that?

Animation Studios

The IRL has two full-sized black box animation stages equipped with cinema lights and stop-motion camera kits, available for reservation for film, animation, photography, or other work. Studio #2 houses the Volo Motion Control Camera rig, a professional-grade motion control crane.

Check it out!

Project Storage

The Idea Realization Lab maintains storage bin space for student projects, so you don’t need to carry your stuff back and forth every day.

Need a bin?

Machine Instructions

Forgot an important detail about machine software, or looking to double-check your safety precautions? These instructions are the same ones used to teach workshops at the IRL, so you can look back and check your work in case you’ve lost your copy.

Read more!