Fabrication Labs

The College of Built Environments enjoys a well-developed collection of fabrication technologies and supporting infrastructure. Supported through the office of the Dean, they are housed primarily in the Fabrication Laboratories just off Gould Court on the first floor of Gould Hall. The Labs support work for specific classes, and are open to the entire CBE community during open hours. The recent formation of BE-Fab allows graduates, professionals, and other interested parties to also pursue projects in the CBE Fab Labs on a fee basis.

The Fabrication Labs are staffed by Penny Maulden (Director), Steve Withycombe (Staff), and Roark Congdon (Digital Fabrication Staff), along with a group of capable student assistants. Kimo Griggs, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Technology Transfer is the Faculty Advisor.

BE Fabrication Labs Training Videos

Open Hours

Open hours in the Fabrication lab are times when the wood and metal labs are staffed but unused by scheduled classes.  During these times, the labs are open for use by appropriately-trained students, faculty, and staff in the College.

Wood Lab

The CBE Wood Lab is a fully-tooled, general-purpose environment for teaching design & making using wood-working techniques and technologies. It is well-suited to the production of models, full-scale prototypes of wood furniture, furnishings, building components, and design-build projects. Our collection of large, professional-quality stationary tools includes a panel saw, larger and small jointers and planers, a wide-belt sander, bandsaws, mortiser, lathe, circular saws (conventional Saw-Stop and sliding-table), router table, chop saw, drill presses and numerous sanding machines. In addition we have an impressive collection of hand-held power tools and a truly remarkable collection of fine hand tools including dozens of Stanley and Lie-Nielsen hand planes supplemented by hand saws, chisels, spoke shaves, braces and bits, measuring tools etc.. Clamping systems include large and small bar clamps, conventional C-clamps, vacuum clamping devices and band clamps. The Labs are served by full dust-collection and compressed-air systems. There is very little that the mind can conceive of that cannot be achieved – at the highest standard – in our Wood Lab.

A number of our digital fabrication tools are housed directly adjacent to, and open into our Wood Lab, allowing for a seamless relationship between “conventional” and “digital” ways of making. This adjacency has fostered the development of a culture that draws little distinction between hand tools, machine tools, and digitally-enabled machine tools in the pursuit of design excellence. Our large-format CNC Router and smaller CNC Mill are directly adjacent to the Wood Lab, and the digitizers, laser – cutter, CNC fabric cutter and robotic Arm are housed in the next room, our Digital Hub.

Metal Lab

The CBE Metal Lab is a well-tooled, general-purpose environment for teaching design & making using metal-working techniques and technologies. It is well-suited to the production of the small, medium and large parts and assemblies that support a wide variety of coursework and other activities. Our collection of substantial, professional-quality stationary tools includes punches, sheet-metal shears and rollers, bending and forming tools, a Sheldon machine lathe and Bridgeport Mill, abrasive sanding and grinding machines, CNC plasma cutter, drill presses and band-saws of various types. We enjoy a large collection of electric and air-powered hand-held tools such as angle grinders, die-grinders, riveters, and a large sand-blaster. Our excellent welding and brazing facilities include three MIG welders, a TIG welder, resistance welder, and gas welding and small brazing outfits. We also have a large collection of hand tools such as socket wrenches, combination wrenches, metal shears, blacksmithing tools, files, tap and die sets, punches and rivet tools, clamping systems, measuring and layout tools – in short virtually every tool required to pursue a project in ferrous and non-ferrous metals from conception to gallery-ready completion. The Metal Lab is also a natural environment in which to work with plastics, composite materials (including plaster and concrete) and to engage in activities that are not consistent with the needs of the Wood Lab next door.

Digital Hub

Our Digital Fabrication resources are centered in our Digital Hub, located in Gould 137. Adjacent to the Wood and Metal Labs, the Hub contains a dozen rolling workstations with digital design/fabrication software solutions that can be connected to hand-held or laser digitizers, a 3D Printer, a large-format CNC Fabric Cutter and other small tools in the Hub. A stationary workstation can be used to print or plot. CAD/CAM software such as RhinoCAM, Mastercam and BobCAD can be used to create cutting files for the large CNC Router, smaller CNC Mill, CNC Plasma Cutter or Robotic Arm. The Hub is also a place for a wide variety of work associated with other manual, machine or digitally-enabled fabrication, including electronics, sewing, mold-making and casting.

The Digital Hub may be reserved for class work or workshops by directly contacting Penny Maulden, Director of our Fabrication Labs, or our Digital Fabrication Assistant, Roark Congdon.

Laser Cutters

The College owns four Universal Laser Systems laser cutters for student use. An ILS12.75 and a VLS4.60 are located in Gould Hall, are available for use by appropriately-trained UW/CBE students, and are accessed through the classroom adjacent to the workshops, Gould 137. Two additional VLS4.60 laser cutters in the 2nd Floor studios of Architecture Hall serve only students and faculty with studios in that building.

Laser Cutter Training Videos

Overview, Training, and Usage

Use of laser cutters is for students and faculty who have received specialized training from Digital Fabrication faculty (Assoc. Prof. Kimo Griggs), our Digital Fabrication Assistant (Roark Congdon), or teaching assistants. This training is available on a course-by-course basis where use of laser cutters is recommended, and also on an individual basis by request.

Please send your training request to belaser@uw.edu. Individuals who have received training will be given NetID access to the laser cutters. Without valid permission you will not be able to log onto any of the laser cutter computers. If you have been trained and find that you are unable to log on with your NetID, please send an email from another computer to belaser@uw.edu.

Every attempt will be made to group individuals together for training (5 to 8 individuals can be trained in one session) to allow our staff to spend their time efficiently. Grouping individual requests may take time so please be patient, and ask for training well before you will need to use a laser cutter.

Staff in the Gould Hall Fabrication Lab may need to remain in the labs, and may not be specifically trained in laser cutter usage or maintenance, so do not expect them to be able to assist you. Questions should be addressed to the aforementioned Digital Fabrication Assistant or Digital Fabrication faculty, both of whom can be reached by sending an email to belaser@uw.edu.

Use of laser cutters is scheduled using an on-line calendar/reservation system (see Laser Cutter Calendar), and time slots are limited in order to allow for fair and equitable access. The laser cutter in Gould Hall is generally available only during open workshop hours. They are not to be used during class in the workshops or Gould 137 without prior permission. Check the door of the workshop, Gould 132, for current hours.


Laser Cutters produce smoke and odors, and may be a source of flame which can be dangerous. In addition to ensuring that no prohibited materials are being cut, all users should make themselves aware of the location of the fire extinguisher in each room and should check before cutting to ensure that it is fully charged. If there is any sign of excessive smoke or fire the laser cutter must be turned off IMMEDIATELY!


Once you have been trained you will be given access to make and edit events on the Laser Cutter Calendar. Reservations should be for a MAXIMUM of 1-hour. You are permitted to have two hours of reserved time per 24-hour period. Any scheduling that does not follow this protocol, without prior permission, is subject to deletion by CBE Laser Staff.