Welcome to NextFab! Tour our facilities and be introduced to our guidelines and regulations for safe use. Learn how to log onto our computer workstations, sign up for classes, and reserve time on machines. Please arrive early so that there is time to setup new username and passwords.
Sign up for membership before attending orientation so that your online profile is ready when you arrive.
If you are also signing up for safety classes after orientation, we recommend packing a lunch.
Welcome bike enthusiasts! Gain the road confidence you crave by learning how a bicycle works, as well as which are the correct tools to invest in for your own kit. Practice diagnosing common bicycle problems and understanding basic fixes. Children ages 14-17 welcome with accompanying parent. NOTE: class covers material using parts stored at NextFab. Please do not bring your bike in progress to this class.
Learn the basics of hand-painted lettering using water-based paints. Discuss oil-based applications, painting on different materials, and industrial applications for the technique.
Craft your own unique, fully functional speaker in this two part workshop. Learn the basics of speaker mechanics by soldering your own components together, then complete your assembly with wooden housing. Soldering experience not necessary, but helpful.
Explore laser cutting, Arduino programming, and robotic automation in this challenging workshop. Learn specific Arduino concepts and basic robotic purpose by assembling your own robotic arm. One class fee pays for one kit.
Explore the router table, a versatile tool that can help take your projects to the next level, in this two part class. Learn about edge profiles by creating rabbets and roman ogees while assembling your own picture frame. Other techniques covered include: stopped cuts, creating keyholes, using MDF templates, and the Dubby Cutoff Sled.
Novices welcome! Explore woodburning, the art of burning designs and images into wood. Practice textures and patterns by using different styles of woodburners and various pen tips for desired effects. Learn practical methods for design layout and transfer, discover finishing techniques for refining woodburned work, as well as safety and maintenance of woodburning pens. Class fee includes material for a set of 4 wooden coasters.
3D print, assemble, and code your own arduino-based robot racer! 3D print the robot body, then explore breadboards to assemble the circuitry necessary to bring your robot to life. Children ages 10 + are welcome if accompanied by a parent.
Hand craft your own unique looking coffee table in this 2 session workshop. Learn the tricks to some essential wood joinery tools and techniques that are convenient for many applications. Along with the discussion of structural principles and process details, incorporate your own personalized design element, to make for a truly eye-catching furniture piece.
Explore the wood shop and the basic tools it offers, including an introduction to the paint booth, several powered cutting tools, hand tools, and sanding machines. Walk away with a cheeseboard of your own design, finished and ready to be used.
Join us in NextFab’s comprehensive Electronics lab! Explore the tools and processes we have available to transform your projects. Learn about Printed Circuit Board design and manufacturing, then try your hand at soldering together your own hydro-inspired PCB. This class is designed for makers of any skill level.
Curious about what it takes to patent your idea? Join patent agent Scott Keeley for a beginner’s discussion on patent writing, application, and execution.
Explore the world of hand tools commonly used in the wood shop by making a robot pencil sharpener. Practice safe use of chisels, hand saws, hammers, hand drills, and many other tools essential in creating and finishing fine woodworking projects.
Gain familiarity with tools and techniques that help achieve professional finishes in woodworking projects. Learn about wood preparation, application of different types of finishes, use of the spray gun, and paint booth safety.
Calling all beginners! Explore turning techniques on the Jet wood lathe, including roughing, shaping beads and coves, drilling, and finishing. Practice safe setup and operation of the wood lathe, and proper use of a variety of turning tools. Walk away with a candlestick holder or spinning top, and gain certification for unsupervised access to the wood lathe.
Learn how to turn a wood bowl while advancing lathe skills in this project-based class. Cover the steps of setting up for bowl turning: mounting blanks, using the bowl gouge, roughing out a foot, and finishing techniques, as well as when and how to properly sharpen tools. Class fee includes material for one finished bowl per member.
Learn the basics of preparing wood for use in woodworking projects. This class will cover safe use of the jointer, planer, and time saver machines. Process rough sawn wood by flattening, straightening, and squaring. Practice using the machines by milling wood and then gluing up boards to make a finished cutting board from exotic hardwoods.
Learn the basics of preparing wood for use in woodworking projects. This class will cover safe use of the jointer and planer. Process rough sawn wood by flattening, straightening, and squaring. Practice using the machines by milling wood and then gluing up boards to make a finished cutting board. NOTE: This class at our North Philly and Wilmington locations does not include use of the time saver machine. For training on that machine, please see a staff member at our South Philly location, free of charge.
Learn the fundamentals of table saw and miter saw safety. Arguably the most used machines in the wood shop, the table saw and miter saw are essential for all levels of woodworking. Identify and use each saw’s components for safe setup and operation, while exploring different types of cuts and corresponding blades and techniques.
Learn more about the most versatile tool in the wood shop. Cover the use of specific jigs and blade choices, and practice miter cuts, dados, splines and rabbet joints by making a hinged wooden box.
Explore the basics of CAD, computer aided designing, in this introductory class. Discuss project applications and learn design concepts while designing a project file for a small wooden box in VCarve Pro.
Building on concepts learned in CAD for CNC, learn the basics of CAM file design in VCarve Pro. Complete your wooden box file, and discuss toolpathing and other essential CAM concepts.
In this two part course, explore the specifics of using Vectric Aspire software to operate the Roland MDX 540, a versatile 3-axis CNC milling machine capable of fine detail and precision work. Learn how to load, initialize, and safely run the machine, then design a custom wooden jewelry pendant or belt buckle in Aspire, to be cut and produced during the second half of class.
NOTE: upon completion of the class, members will receive 2 hours of complementary machine time, to assist in tooling setup for their first project.
Using a completed box file from CAM for CNC, practice machining on the Shopbot, our wood shop’s largest CNC router.
NOTE: this class takes place in the woodshop and requires appropriate attire.
Pick from a variety of stones provided by your instructor to make your very own wire wrapped stone pendant necklace in this beginner-friendly class. Explore basic techniques while also learning how to make rosary chains, useful in many different types of jewelry projects. One class fee pays for one necklace.
Make a keychain, pendant, or pet name tag as an introduction to jewelry making. Learn basic use of standard hand tools and equipment in the jewelry studio, including the jeweler’s saw, stamping materials, and flex shaft. NOTE: to gain unsupervised access to the jeweler’s benches, members must take wood or combo safety. This class is only taught at our North 4th location.
In this two part course, learn how to safely and confidently operate the torch for annealing and soldering of jewelry metals. Make three, customized projects: a custom sterling silver ring, a bracelet, and a pin. From beginners to those looking to improve their technique, this class is packed with the tips and tricks for soldering success. Explore metal characteristics through demonstrations and detailed instruction. After completing this course, members gain unsupervised access to the soldering area of the jeweler’s studio.
Please note: members only need to have taken at least 1 safety class before attending. All 3 safety classes are not required to use the equipment.
Take your ring making to the next level! Building on the concepts covered in the soldering and annealing class, learn how to size, form, and finish a sterling silver ring, with a silver bezel and wood cabochon. An overview of shaping and finishing different types of wood for jewelry applications will also be covered.
Learn the basics of vitreous enamel, including proper application, physical characteristics of enamel, proper use of a kiln, and proper cleanup. Practice on flat and 3-dimensional shapes to gain a better range of working surfaces. Projects will include a flat pendant and a formed, tab-set pendant.
Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics drawing and editing software, useful for creating files for digital fabrication at NextFab. This introductory class will cover the interface, tools, layers, and more. By the end of the class you will be comfortable navigating the software. NOTE: Basic computer navigational skills are necessary to take and understand this class.
Solidworks is CAD software that creates geometry for 3D parts and assemblies. Learn how to navigate menus and options, create sketches, and utilize different shape options to create custom geometries and dimensions. Extrude, cut, and fillet a sketch, and discuss how to change appearances and scenes to create professional looking renderings.
Rhinoceros (Rhino) is 3-D modeling design software, commonly used by a variety of industries. Learn the basics of navigating and using the software, the various projects and design areas that benefit from the use of Rhino, and basic CAD principles. Work to design a basic project of your choosing, available as a file for personal use upon completion of class. NOTE: Basic computer navigational skills are necessary to take and understand this class.
The Epson 9900 is a high quality printer designed to take photographic printing and art reproduction to the next level. Learn how to print professional looking photographs on various sizes of material. Setup and operate the machine, and print custom color or black-and-white photo prints on Epson Luster paper.
Explore the world of vinyl printing and cutting, perfect for creating decals, stickers, banners, apparel transfers and more. Learn the step-by-step process of preparing graphics, basic machine setup, software usage, and production for different applications. Note: machine specifications differ across facilities. South Philadelphia students train on the Roland XR-640 and Wilmington students train on the SP-300i. Before operating this machine at a new facility, please see a shop staff member for brief, complementary training.
Cover the basics of operating a traditional, consumer-grade sewing machine. Learn to identify machine parts and set them up to sew, wind bobbins, and prepare material for sewing. Gain confidence in identifying different types of fabric, needles and stitches, and when to use each. Walk away with a tote bag sewn to completion. NOTE: students may bring in their own fabric to class if they wish, or will be asked to complete the project using basic fabric provided by NextFab.
Take your basic sewing skills to the next level. Learn to sew french seams, zippers, make a buttonhole, and use the machine to sew on buttons while creating a personalized, fully lined Dopp kit.
Learn the basics of digital embroidery operating the Brother Innov-ís 2800D embroidery machine and the PE-Design NEXT software. Topics will include navigating the machine’s LCD interface, setting up the machine and software, matching types of threads and needles to their intended applications, and troubleshooting common problems. Explore correct use of a hoop and stabilizer to embroider basic imagery.
Dive into Design Center, an in-depth area of PE Design NEXT, allowing for more comprehensive image editing. Learn additional attachments for the embroidery machine and use the editing menus to ensure a perfect embroidery. Members will also practice techniques for embroidering on experimental materials and utilizing alternative stabilizers. NOTE: Members should bring their own imagery containing a maximum of 5 colors. They may also bring in their own fabric, or can use scrap fabric provided by NextFab.
Through a combination of guided instruction and independent work, build on existing knowledge of Adobe Illustrator to create and design for laser cutting. Explore features that can be used for laser design including layer use, smart guides, bitmaps, clipping paths, compound shapes and kerf testing. Time will be given at the end of class to work on personal files. Introduction to Adobe Illustrator or a prior working knowledge of Illustrator is required.
Learn to safely operate the Trotec 300 and Trotec 500 laser engravers. Discuss material choice, file prep, laser focusing, air filtration, and clean up. Practice preparing files for the lasers, and use a NextFab provided file to demo cutting. NOTE: Upon completion of class, students will schedule an appointment with a staff member to demonstrate their ability to safely operate the machines. Completion of this appointment will grant the member access to the Trotec lasers.
Explore various intermediate techniques on the laser. Learn about kerf, a fundamental consideration when laser cutting. Using this knowledge, create a file that inlays one piece of wood into another. Take this pathway further and create a press fit acrylic design. Practice jig-registration techniques for engraving objects not created on the laser and finally discuss how to optimally prepare a photo for engraving.
Learn to safely operate the Universal laser to cut and engrave a variety of materials. Using a file provided by NextFab, prep, cut, and finish your own keychain. Explore best practices for material choice, file preparation, and color and stroke choice. After the class, schedule an appointment with NextFab staff to demonstrate ability and gain unsupervised access to the laser.
Etch your own custom pint glass! Practice proper techniques to install and safely use the rotary attachment for the laser cutter. This attachment allows for engraving and cutting cylindrical objects without distortion. Build on existing skills and learn to laser etch on all 360 degrees. Each participant will receive one pint glass to engrave. Additional pint glasses may be purchased for an extra fee.
Explore the behavior of electricity in this introductory circuits class. Learn about voltage, current, resistance, and the relationship between them. Experiment with resistors, LEDs and other diodes while you practice translating schematic drawings into real circuits! No prior experience with electronics is required.
Bring your electronics knowledge to the next level in this advanced circuits class. Learn about diodes, capacitors and inductors to examine how circuits change with time. Use an op-amp to drive a speaker, and a 555 timer to control the brightness of an led via pulse width modulation.
See what’s happening electrically inside of your circuit! Use analysis tools, including the oscilloscope and function generator, to observe circuit behavior in real time. Learn how to build a PWM (pulse width modulated) motor driver and analyze the real output of the circuit compared to the predicted output.
Delve deeper into soldering techniques used for small batch prototyping with surface mount components. Explore the numerous SMD component packages along with methods of using and reflowing solder paste and board rework.
Learn how to program hardware and create embedded systems with this introduction to Arduino, the popular, open-source development platform that provides novices and professionals alike with a massive array of options. Experiment with inputs and outputs, and finish the class with building a simple theremin.
Solve more advanced problems and prepare to make your own projects with Arduino. Explore more advanced coding concepts like writing custom functions and working with arrays, then practice importing libraries and tweaking existing code to meet your needs.
Learn to use our open-source 3D printers by picking and printing a design from NextFab’s curated archive of pre-approved project files. Experience simulations of commonly encountered problems, and learn how to troubleshoot and adjust a machine for clean, precise prints. Completion of this class gains members unsupervised, free access to our consumer model 3D printers for personal use. Note: students are welcome to stay after class to try out longer prints or test out their newly learned skills with more complicated files.
Learn how to use Stratasys Catalyst, the control software for the Dimension SST, to 3D print complex designs in durable ABS plastic. Capable of printing in two materials, prints on the Stratasys Dimension can have overhanging and embedded parts, created with dissolvable support structures. Orient, scale, copy and set print resolutions and densities in Catalyst, and practice safe operation of the Support Cleaning Apparatus (SCA) to remove the support material from the 3d print. NOTE: On completion of the course, participants will be able to submit prints to the Dimension using the Catalyst software. A demonstration of the safety procedures for the SCA will be scheduled, at the student’s convenience, to allow unsupervised access to the equipment.
Discover the NextEngine 3D Scanner, capable of scanning existing 3d objects to create export files for 3D printing and CNC reproductions. Learn how to run the machine, which objects are scannable, and the triangulation process used to produce a point cloud.