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Frith First-Year Makerspace

Frith First-Year Makerspace

student working on wooden mountain range

The Frith First-Year Makerspace (formerly the Frith Lab) is designed to support the retention and development of young engineers through hands-on learning, peer mentoring, and authentic problem-solving. Part collaboration and innovation space, part fabrication and prototyping space, and part learning laboratory, Frith is integrated into the first-year foundations of engineering courses and enables General Engineering students to learn by dissecting, designing, making, and analyzing engineering products.

Nick Bedard

Nick Bedard, Lab Manager | bedardn@vt.edu

Dr. Benjamin Chambers

Dr. Ben Chambers, Director of Frith | bdc0112@vt.edu

Summer Frith Hours

Monday/Wednesday 5:30 - 8:30 PM

Tuesday/Thursday 10:30 AM - 5 PM 

Closed all university holidays and breaks.

Our Undergraduate Lab Assistant Team

The Frith Makerspace is home to more than 30 undergraduate lab assistants (ULAs) - engineering students from all years across the College of Engineering - who help foster an environment of creativity, exploration and safety for all first-year students. Meet our team!

  • Allison Deaton, Computer Science
  • Anna Brogowski, Controls, Robots & Autonomy
  • Audrey Finch, Construction Engineering Management
  • Ben Nguyen, Robotics & Mechatronics
  • Carolina Bell, Biology
  • Charlotte Uehling, General Engineering
  • Chris Cho, Robotics & Mechatronics
  • Colton Tshudy, Electrical Engineering
  • DJ Martins, General Engineering
  • Eszti Varga, Aerospace Engineering
  • George Salcedo, Electrical Engineering
  • Javid Alasti, Mechanical Engineering
  • Malik Deslauriers, Aerospace Engineering
  • Margee Pipaliya, Aerospace Engineering
  • Matthew Sweat, Industrial & Systems Engineering
  • Max Engel, Computer Engineering CPI
  • Mel Umana Martinez, Robotics & Mechatronics
  • Melissa Konathapally, Chemical Engineering
  • Nathan Rand, Aerospace Engineering
  • Nick Poole, Mechnical Engineering
  • Reagan Hollar, Robotics & Mechatronics
  • Rebekah Mackey, Clinical Neuroscience
  • Safiya Fatemah, Packaging Systems & Design
  • Saumith Gundapuneedi, Aerospace Engineering
  • Shane Bennett, Computer Science
  • Travis Wiehe, Mechanical Engineering

Our Equipment

The lab features over $150,000 worth of equipment that any GE student can use once they have completed the safety training required for a machine.  The tools can be used for projects assigned in engineering classes, but students are encouraged to come and use the lab for the sake of learning. Some of our equipment includes:

3D Printing
  • SLA 
  • FFF/FDM
Laser Cutters
  • Glowforge Pro
Metalworking
  • Sheet metal roll/brake/shear
  • Tormach CNC mill 
  • Jet horizontal bandsaw 
Wood shop
  • Miter saw
  • Sawstop PCS tablesaw
  • Festool tracksaw
  • Jet drill press
  • Laguna vertical bandsaw
  • Harvey dust cyclone
Craft corner
  • 28" vinyl cutter
  • Sailrite industrial sewing machine
  • Heat press

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Project Ides

Pano image of the Frith Lab.

Frith's History

Dr. Richard Goff was the founding director of the Frith Lab from 1998 until 2013 when he passed the directorship to Dr. Mike Gregg at the start of Richard's last sabbatical. The idea for the lab started with Deidre Hirschfeld and Mike Gregg (Engineering Fundamentals faculty). In 1998 we moved the lab activities into the space in Randolph 3.   

Prior to 1998 (and the creation of the Ware Lab), Randolph 3 had housed the "Car Factory" (which EF Department Head Hayden Griffin was involved with).  The space was used by the Formula and Baja Car Teams.  Engineering Fundamentals remodeled Randolph 3 in 1998 just after Hayden became Department Head of Engineering Fundamentals in 1997. The Frith Lab was dedicated in 1998, and the Friths donated $250,000 to renovate that space. 

In 2014 the lab was remodeled again, adding modern equipment. Prior to 2014 we did the dozen Lab course take-apart projects in Frith like cameras, hard drives, toasters, lego RCX robots, etc.  working with hand tools and other small tools. We eventually started holding ENGE 1024 and 1114 workshop classes in there due to lack of space in Randolph, prior to the 2014 remodel.

The Frith Lab, located in 3 Randolph Hall, was renovated in 2014 and funded by Ray Frith (Agriculture Engineering, Class of 1951) and his wife Violet.