The BuildLAB is a venture launched by The Department of Building Construction and the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. Established in 2013, the goal of the lab is to serve Virginia Tech's "Hands-on Minds-on" philosophy of applied learning by fostering a supportive environment for innovation of all kinds.

The emphasis in BuildLAB is placed on a goal of discovery rather than direct purpose; based on the notion that the most interesting and impactful discoveries come from trial and error, attempts of new things, curiosity, and serendipity. To support this approach the LAB features a more or less complete hodge-podge of equipment and tools with a material focus on wood and composites. In addition, the LAB features a substantial component of computer-controlled machines in the vein of the 'Fab-Lab' concept. Our goal is the ability to make anything out of anything from small to large, and from the personal to the universal.

We've set lofty goals and have allowed our best instincts to drive our approach to BuildLAB. Use will ultimately dictate the development and adaptation of the facility to suit the broader goals of our Virginia Tech community. To that end, we'd like to invite users, visitors (who will hopefully become users), and other interested parties to visit and contribute.


All users are required to have proper training through the Environmental Health and Safety website. Link the website here.

Required Training:

  • Ladder Safety
  • Machine Shop Safety
  • Hand and Power Tool Safety - located under Machine Shop
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers - Must retake every 2 years


Once you have taken these required training sessions, come check in with a lab tech and they will sign you in.

Build LAB Rules

  1. Check-in with a Lab Assistant
  2. Complete Safety Quizzes
  3. ALWAYS wear safety glasses and appropriate PPE
  4. ALWAYS clean up the work area and put away tools

CNC Policy

CNC- Computer numerical control system. Used to take 3D designed models and cut them out with a router bit. Wood, plastics, and foams can be used on this machine. Topographic maps, models, and parts of a design are examples of types of projects made on the CNC.

General Use:

  1. All cuts will be scheduled and overlooked by a lab tech.
  2. A slot to use the CNC cannot be for more than 4 hours. No more than 4 slots can be reserved per week. Total of 16 cutting hours per week.


  1. If there is a class being taught and the CNC is too loud, we do have the right to stop the cut.
  2. If the project is getting out of control we have the right to cancel the cut.
  3. Clean up and removal of all materials is the responsibility of the user.

Laser Policy

General Use

  1. Check-in with a Lab Assistant to receive the power cord or key.
  2. If it is your first time using the laser, a Lab Assistant will assist you with your project.


Vector cutting with Inkscape

  1. Select the lines to be cut.
  2. Edit the lines so they are .001 RGB in and red
  3. Print the file as a PDF
  4. Then open the PDF reader that you printed to and print to the UCP driver

Vector Cutting with AutoCAD

  1. Select the lines to be cut.
  2. Edit the lines so they are .001 in and red.
  3. Export the file as a PDF
  4. Make sure the letter size is edited to your dimensions.


  1. Print PDF to "PLS3.6" laser
  2. Edited the file to correct position.
  3. Select the red vector cut to full power
  4. If there is no engraving then set the black cut to zero
  5. Set the speed to 2% on the red vector cut.
  6. Then press play.



Download Driver at your own risk:

  1. Go to:
  2. Select UCP installer
  3. Select your platform
  4. Once downloaded choose PLS 3.6 Laser

LAB hours: 9 AM-5 PM Monday - Friday

Due to Covid-19 campus health and safety concerns, the Design-Build Lab is only open to required class-based projects this semester. 

Contact Jeremy Withers if you need any assistance with the Design-Build Lab:

Training Page (everyone must complete the required training to access the lab)

Design-Build Lab and 3D printing scheduling calendar link 

Loading Bay & Laser printing scheduling calendar link

CNC Scheduling calendar link


Work Orders

If you want to start a project a learn more about the lab just come stop by.

Location: We are located in Bishop-Favaro Hall. 1345 Perry St. Blacksburg, VA 24061

The best way to get involved with LAB activities and to start your own projects is simply to come by.