Frequently Asked Questions

Get to know the IRL.
Where are the IRLs located?

The Loop IRL is located in room 310 in the 14 E Jackson/243 S State building. Get off the elevators on the 3rd floor and head to the right.

IRL2 is located in the Schmitt Academic Center on the second floor. Take the escalators up, walk towards the writing center, turn right and continue through the two sets of doors.

What are the hours?

We are open Monday – Friday from 10AM – 9PM, and Saturdays from 10AM – 5PM.

What sorts of equipment are available?

The labs are focused on digital fabrication, and our most popular machines are our 3D printers and laser cutters. However, we also have woodshops, vinyl cutters, screen printing equipment, sewing machines, circuitry and soldering stations, and more. Visit our Equipment and Resources page for more details on the tools, materials, which space they are available at and requirements to use them.

Do I have to be in a class or part of a specific college at DePaul to use the labs?

Nope. The labs are completely unrestricted and is open to every DePaul University student, staff member, and faculty.

How much does it cost to use the Idea Realization Lab?

The labs are completely free! We do not charge for machine use, and we provide basic materials. See the “can I sell the things I make here” for more details on that.

Can I use the lab if I am not a DePaul University student?

DePaul alumni can come freely and attend authorization workshops. Members of the public may visit during tours and events planned through the IRLs, but cannot use the equipment at this time.

Who works here?

The IRLs are student-run spaces. This means that students set the hours, request materials and new equipment, and open and close the doors each day. We do have an awesome Faculty Director, Jay Margalus, who teaches in CDM’s Game Design department, Operations Manager Benjamin Kumming in the Cinematic Arts department, IRL Advisor Terry Steinbach who is an Associate Dean of CDM, and Animation Stage Coordinator Devin Bell who teaches Animation!

What does it mean to be authorized?

Many of the tools in the IRLs are dangerous to use if you’re inexperienced, so we prohibit students from using them until the student has taken an authorization workshop with us. Our workshops last between 1 and 2 hours, and provide the necessary knowledge and hands-on learning to be able to safely use the tools. Of course, IRL staff is always around to help answer questions and offer guidance. Visit our Equipment and Resources page for information on which machines require workshops, and check out our Events and Workshops to see what’s running next.

Can I sell the things I make here?

You are free to sell things you make here, as long as you bring your own materials. Please don’t prevent other students from working and creating by monopolizing equipment and materials.

Are there restrictions on what I can make here?

As a DePaul University space, we’re bound to the Student Code of Responsibility. So, don’t make anything obscene, anything that includes profanity, functional weapons, or anything that might violate the Code you’ve agreed to as a student.

I am unable to make the offered workshop times, what should I do?

Message one of our Facebook pages, or contact us at or and we can work with you to set something up for one-on-one or a smaller group.

Are credit courses taught in the lab?

A variety of 2 and 4 credit courses are taught in the IRLs. Past examples include EXP 210, Design and Fabrication for Physical Space, GD 380, Design for Client and Community, and PHY 110, Introduction to Electronics.

Is there a printer for use?

IRL printers are for staff use only. Sorry! Visit the university library in the DePaul Center for more printing resources. 

Additional questions?

Reach out to us via email at or hit us up on Facebook(IRL,IRL2), or talk to an IRL employee in person if you have more burning questions.