The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has awarded the Independence Community College Foundation a $50,000 grant to support the new digital fabrication lab (Fab Lab) on the main campus.
The lab will be used for ICC classes in the fall semester and be open to community members in October. “We’re extremely grateful to become a partner with the Kauffman Foundation,” said Jim Correll, the Director of the Fab Lab and ICC’s Successful Entrepreneurship Program.
“The idea behind a Fab Lab is to provide users with a means to create things imagined in their minds, and the computerized, digital tools make this creative fabrication much easier than was possible just a few years ago. The primary capabilities of Fab Lab ICC will include 3D printing, laser engraving, CNC routing, CNC plasma cutting, and CNC milling and turning.”
“This is really a community-focused space,” said ICC President Dan Barwick. “We’ll be able to serve the creative endeavors of everyone, from ICC students to entrepreneurs to students in the school district. So far, this project has been funded almost entirely by private supporters who see the potential of this facility, and this grant from the Kauffman Foundation will truly take the project to the next level.”
The Fab Lab experience is expected to have substantial benefits for traditional students at ICC in all disciplines. Many classes will evolve to include "Fab Lab time” to allow students to create. "Nothing stimulates learning better than a student being to create something physical from an idea that they imagined," says Kevin D. O'Neill, Engineering Professor at ICC. A newly formed "Innovation Club" will allow students access to the Fab Lab whether or not any of their current classes use the lab.
The lab will also feature experiences for K - 12 area students and youth groups. Although the operation schedule is under development, starting in early October the Fab Lab will be available to the community about 20 hours per week during the normal work week. It will likely be open one evening per week with some time open on Saturdays.