Custom Fabrication Module

Director: Matthew A. Smith, PhD

The Custom Fabrication Module is designed to serve the various needs of scientific projects for custom designed research equipment. It provides access to the resources at the University of Pittsburgh in the School of Engineering, the Swanson Center for Product Innovation (SCPI), managed by Andy Holmes. The SCPI is a state-of-the-art network of laboratories and equipment for design, prototyping and manufacturing. This module provides dedicated machinist time from the SCPI to support these roles in furtherance of research projects of participating investigators.

Module Services

  1. Custom Machining: The SCPI is fully outfitted with all the necessary machining equipment to execute designs from scratch or modify existing objects. This includes a host of standard manual machining equipment, as well as a full complement of computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools. The staff of the SCPI is highly trained in the operation of all of this equipment.
  2. Stereolithography (SLA): The SCPI has a machine capable of 3D printing complex designs. This is an additive manufacturing process where a plastic resin is used to build a 3D object from scratch. This is a rapid process that enables the researcher to move from a design to a prototype in a matter of hours. This is ideal for rapid prototyping and, if the plastic resin is an appropriate material, the production of final research-ready materials.
  3. 3D CAD design: The SCPI has licenses and computers dedicated to 3D computer-aided design software (CAD), including Creo Elements/Pro and Solidworks. This includes 3 workstations dedicated for visitor usage, as well as numerous workstations available for the SCPI staff. The SCPI staff is highly trained in the use of this software for design of custom hardware in three dimensions, including novel designs as well as duplications or adaptations of existing objects. The SCPI also has laser-scanning hardware for measuring arbitrary shapes or objects and importing them into CAD software. Researchers using the SCPI can take advantage of their expertise in design to assist them from the beginning of a project all the way through to completion.

Contact Information

Matthew A. Smith, PhD
Mellon Institute 115, Carnegie Mellon Univeresity, 4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213