Fabrication Lab

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University of Miami School of Architecture Fabrication Lab

U-SoA’s modeling and fabrication facilities provide students the opportunity to turn their conceptual design projects into physical representations, allowing them to elaborate on the techniques learned in design courses. The fabrication facilities serve as an augmented area for exploration, prototyping, and design thinking through making. Studio assignments and research projects are pursued during the staffed lab hours under the supervision of a full time Fabrication Director and Student Lab Monitors.

Immediately adjacent to the design studios, the modeling and fabrication facilities occupy approximately 3,300 square feet and include both digital and analog fabrication equipment. Along with traditional woodworking tools and machinery, students have access to 3D printers, powder printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and CNC milling.

General Resources

The Fabrication Lab at the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building

The Fabrication Lab at the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building (TPMDSB), has a series of machines for rapid prototyping and design experimentation. These machines allow students to quickly transfer ideas from the digital realm into physical objects. These resources include:

Four Universal Laser machines. These machines include higher watt, large format machines that have cutting beds (24” x 36”) and two with a smaller 24” x 18” cutting bed. 

Four new Ultimaker F.D.M. 3D printers. Two are Ultimaker 3 Extended and two are Ultimaker S5, the largest FDM printer-to-date by Ultimaker. All have dual extruders and will have white PLA as printing material and PVA as support material. 

For fine grain resolution models students will also have access to the Z-350 powder printer at the TPMDSB Fab Lab. The ZCorp 350 Powder Printer uses a fine powder in combination with a binder to create models of extreme precision and detail.

There is also a 53” vinyl cutter that allows students to cut vinyl, adhesives, papers, and circuit boards out of spools of material without a machine limit in length.

U-SoA is also actively sourcing a robotic arm to be installed at the lab as soon as possible.

The Model Shop at the La Gorce House 

At the Model Shop, students have access to individual and group workstations that give students an additional area to work on larger projects. Each area is equipped with a panel of hand tools located on the wall adjacent to the work station.

Students will also have access to a new ShopBot PRS Alpha CNC in addition to an older ShopBot Buddy CNC. The PRS Alpha has a 48” x 96” bed, a 14” Z axis, a more powerful spindle and faster travel speeds. It is also equipped with an automatic 10 tool changer and a hold down vacuum system. The ShopBot Buddy has a bed size of 24” x 48”.   

Additionally students have full access to a series of physical prototyping machines including, bandsaws, table saws, panel saws, planer, jointer, lathe, belt and disc sanders.

Instructional Materials

The Fabrication Lab Team has assembled a series of instructional manuals for student use to help encourage the use and exploration of all of its equipment. 

Downloadable Instructional Manual (Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio)

YouTube Instructional Videos

Downloadable Instructional Manual (La Gorce House)

Level One Training Manual

Level Two Training Manual

YouTube Instructional Videos

How to Prepare a Model for Printing

Models are created in 3D programs such as Rhino and must be saved in STL format. Use the following steps to prepare your model in Rhino and Cura.

  • Make sure your model unit scale is in inches, not feet. Even though the dimension scale may be in inches, you still need to make sure the model units are in inches. Type ‘units’ on the command line to change this. Your finished model size should be 1:1 with the size you want it printed.
  •  When working with surfaces, use BooleanUnion to combine the objects into one polysurface. Click Solid > Union. If the union doesn’t work, you will likely have errors and other problems later. Rework the model so that the union is successful before going on to the next step.
  •  After the Union command has been applied, create a Polygon Mesh. Highlight the object, select Mesh > From NURBS Object. With highly curved surfaces, increase the number of triangles in the mesh. Straight surfaces need less.
  •  Next, click the object to select the Polygon Mesh. With the mesh selected, drag it off the surfaces. Don’t forget to do this otherwise you may export the surfaces as well.
  •  Issue the command CheckMesh to see if you have a good mesh. If you have a bad mesh, search Rhino help for ‘check/repair meshes’. This will give you many fix-it commands. A common problem is naked or unjoined edges, which are revealed with the command ShowEdges, and usually fixed with MatchMeshEdge. FillMeshHoles will repair holes, but is more likely to change the shape of the model. ExtractDuplicateMeshFaces will separate identical faces for easier removal, but be aware it could generate naked edges. It may be helpful to make a copy of the mesh before using these tools in order to check the results.
  •  When done fixing the model, export the Polygon Mesh as an STL file (export only the mesh and not the surfaces as well otherwise it will be harder to edit if any errors occur). Select the mesh, then click File > Export Selected. Change the Save As Type to STL. When the File Type Options appears, choose BINARY. Export each model to a separate STL—don’t combine them in one STL. 
    • We recommend that you export your models into Rhino before exporting the final STL file.

If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to stop by the Fabrication Lab during operational hours or click here for Rhino Tutorials.

After you have exported your Rhino File, you will now need to open Cura and import the model.
Please select the type of filament you would like to use on your print (we offer free tough white PLA Filament, with optional PVA as a support material). Cura Software is available for free download with the link below: 

Cura Software

Cura Tutorial

Once you have created your cura file, please submit the file to the Fabrication Lab with the portal below. 

View status.

 Fab Lab Hours:

Monday 9:00am - 8:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 8:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday 9:00am - 8:00pm  
Friday 9:00am - 6:00pm                       
Saturday 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm - 6:00pm


Manager: Max Jarosz, Registered Architect

Lead Lab Assistants:  

Salah Alsharari
Michael Cannon
Marco Fernandez
Regyne Hertelou
Morgan O’Brien

Lab Assistants:

Mohamed Hussain Alhammadi
Nawaf Almutairi
William Barret
Michael Burke
Jordane Bloomfield
Emily Fusilero
Celia Hernandez
Daniel Kamb
Jennifer Lamy
Shannar O’Connor
Sofia Ojeda
Jasmine Page
Alexandra Remos
Jack Shao
Andrea Szapiro
Reid Yenor

Follow us on Social Media:

Instagram: @UM_SoA_Fab
Youtube: @UM_SoA FabLab