How students research and learn in the CCL

The CCL and its associated facilities – the fabrication shop and robotics lab – are primarily used by students studying in the Department of Architecture. Certain coursework and research projects, however, also use the spaces and their services.

Access to the majority of the CCL equipment is strictly limited to courses that have received prior approval, and students attending a CCL-approved course may not use the lab resources for other courses. Students who are not attending an approved course may not use the CCL under any circumstances.

CCL equipment and services

CCL staff will support digital fabrication use for a fee. Available fee-for-use equipment includes a CAMaster Stinger 1 CNC Router (2’ x 3’) and ShopSabre Pro 510 CNC Router (5’ x 10’). A fee of $0.10 cents / minute for CNC cutting will be charged via U-Bill. Please have your NetID and UID number or Course Fee Worktag ready.

CCL staff will set up the job to be cut. In-stock bits are ½” ball nose, 3/8” end mill, and ¼” end mill. All other bits must be approved by the staff and purchased by the user.


  • Two (2) students must be present for the entire time the job is being cut
    • Students are expected to arrive on time for their scheduled cutting times or they may lose their right to use the equipment
    • All material to be provided by student
    • Students are expected to do their work when CCL staff are available (see scheduled hours) and not to ask for time outside of these windows
    • Students are expected to clean the area and dispose of waste materials
  • Max job time for individual project is 4 hours (per week)
    • Max job time for studio group project (i.e., site model) is 12 hours per semester

Design-build tools in the CCL include an impressive array of hand tools, power tools, and equipment for sitework and concrete design.

Design-build tools are not for general student use, but may be used under instructor supervision for approved courses. Please see the College of Design Model Shop for access to hand and power tools for other coursework.

A variety of equipment and tools may be available for student use in cases where access is arranged for coursework. Individual student use outside of supported coursework is not available.

Printing and cutting

  • Formlabs Form 3 SLA Printer and Formlabs Wash and Cure
    • Clear resin is available for small prints. If you require more than 20 mL of material, we will charge your UID $1 for each addition mL. If you require specialized resins, please purchase resin and a tray from Formlabs and bring with you. These machines require CCL staff support.
  • Lulzbot Taz Pro Dual Extrusion FDM Printer
    • Please provide your own filament. Must be 2.85 mm diameter. This machine requires CCL staff support.
  • Potterbot
  • Plasma CNC

Sewing and embroidery

Textile equipment

Vinyl and laser cutting, wire bending

Environmental and energy

Rather than throw out your prints, please drop off unwanted prints at 1055 Communications during open hours. Please mark your prints with the type of filament used so it can be sorted appropriately for repurposing.

As 3D printing technology becomes increasingly more affordable and accessible, questions about how it contributes to plastic pollution become more pressing.

One of the common types of 3D printer filament is PLA, which is not recycled by most curbside municipal recycling programs. As a result, failed 3D prints cannot be tossed into the recycling bin. However, a feature of the thermoplastics that are used in 3D printing is their ability to be melted down and re-extruded without a significant loss of material.

At the CCL, we are pursuing several filament reuse/recycling research initiatives to assist in sustainability efforts. This includes a reform collaboration with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering that aims to create 100% recycled PLA filament for printing on the Dremel 3D45 printers at the CCL, as well as a grinding and melting process in which 100% ground filament is melted into sheets that are then post-processed into a new form.


Using the Architecture Fabrication Shop

The Architecture Fabrication Shop is an affiliated facility of the CCL that is typically available for student use on a first-come, first-served basis, free for all Iowa State architecture students during scheduled hours.

The Architecture Fabrication Shop is located in the Iowa State University Communications Building, room 1125.

Hot desks

  • 20 tables, 16 LCD monitors with HDMI cords, 5 rolling TVs with HDMI cords
    • Please do not make models in this area.

Model making and general work

  • 20 tables
    • Please bring all model-making supplies, use a cutting mat when making models, and clean up before leaving. There is limited temporary model storage. Please read the signs.

3D printers

Photography spaces

Large format printer

Please begin by reviewing and completing the required Canvas Modules. This training is required for use of the shop.

The equipment in the Architecture Fabrication Shop is supported by CASTLE fees and the Department of Architecture. Please see the CCL Canvas for workflows and machine specifications.

Students are expected to bring their own supplies, dispose of any trash, and remove large items to the dumpster.

About Page Feature - Our Mission

Using the Architectural Robotics Lab

The Architectural Robotics Lab explores the emergent field of research, design, and construction utilizing robotic technology. It works to connect developments in computation to the challenges of construction through teaching, research, publication, and exhibition.

An outpost of the CCL, the ARL is located on the ground level of the Student Innovation Center. Access to the ARL is limited to students in related coursework.

College of Design student researching.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.