By Brian Yauger
Based on the foundation of collaboration, the Youngstown State University Launch Lab has enabled students from across campus to see their ideas come to life.
Anthony Angelilli, an interdisciplinary art major at YSU, said he has been working with the Launch Lab for around a year.
“Most of the things we print are models and prototypes. People that normally come in here aren’t familiar with the technology and just want to know what it’s about,” Angelilli said. “If they have something that they want to print, I’ll help them figure out what the best design is for this object. Last semester these engineering students kept printing phalanges, because they wanted to make this moveable hand and I helped with that.”
Some students use the machine for personal projects. Zach Parsons, an applied history major, said he has made numerous objects from his favorite video games and films, including Fallout and Star Wars.
“I would really consider buying my own 3-D printer. You can even buy a basic one for $99,” Parsons said. “It would be good to get more people here because it’s free 3-D printing.”
Students can use up to 500 grams worth of material per semester.
“I made a lightsaber from ‘Star Wars,’ and I only used about 200 grams of material,” Parsons said.
The appeal of the Launch Lab stretches further across campus than some may think. Robert Twomey, an assistant professor of digital media in the department of art, takes his digital media students to the lab to use the digital scanners there and to get a feel for the possibilities for art to combine with other fields at YSU.
“We have a foundry here, so we can do bronze and aluminum casting,” Twomey said. “There’s a history of art and engineering doing collaborations at YSU, and a lot of it started with 3-D printing, models, doing things on the computer and then fabricating them in the foundry.”
Greg Moring, associate dean of the college of creative arts and communication and member of the Launch Lab advisory board, said he believes the most important thing the Launch Lab has accomplished so far is the collaboration between the different fields of study.
Moring said that the original idea was to combine two different types of students together and “have them learn from one another.”
“The arts would bring the creative spirit, and the thinking outside the box approach, where the engineers would bring that very disciplined, collaboration quality that they do, and put them together so they can learn from one another,” Moring said.
He said that the lab has taken measures to ensure improvement within the program.
“The Launch Lab has a steering group of faculty from each college where we meet on a weekly basis to talk about how we can improve and expand what we do. It’s a way where we can sit down to collaborate and work on ways for our students to collaborate as well, and to me, that’s the most important aspect of Launch Lab,” Moring said.
The Launch Lab is located on the first floor of the Williamson College of Business Administration and can be reached via email at LaunchLabYSU@gmail.com or at the Launch Lab office at (330) 941-2173.