About The Shack

The Shack is a facility and free resource dedicated to the enhancement of experiential learning of all students at the University of Alberta.
Rolls of multicoloured plastic filament for 3D printing

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Shack?

The Shack is a science hardware makerspace at the University of Alberta where students, staff, and faculty can bring their ideas to life. Equipment including 3D printers, a laser cutter, electronics, and more are available for use by the students, staff, and faculty, and we also offer advice on everything "maker".

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of building a 3 dimensional object by forming layers of material on top of each other. At The Shack, we have different kinds of 3D printers that work by slicing 3D file models (STLs) into layers and building them out of plastic filament squeezed through a hot nozzle.

What equipment do you have at The Shack?

We have a wide range of equipment from 3D printers, laser cutters, and other electronics. For the full list on our equipment page.

How can I get involved in The Shack?

The Shack is engaged in a number of outreach activities and workshops and advertises a number of projects that can be undertaken by motivated, interested students. For more information please drop by The Shack or email us at theshack@ualberta.ca.

Is there anything I can't make at The Shack?

The Shack is happy to offer support and equipment to almost any project. The only limitation is that equipment-use must be dedicated to a project (whether academic or personal). Anything you make yourself is usually okay; however, figurines, toys, statues, etc. that are just downloaded from maker websites are not allowed.

How much does it cost to use The Shack's resources?

The Shack is completely free to use! However, we are more a space for prototyping-any mass production of parts is typically not allowed except in certain circumstances. Feel free to discuss your project ideas in person or by email.

I'm interested in The Shack, but where do I start?

The best place to start is 3D printing. Complete our 3D print training and find a cool, small project using the links in our resources section. This is a great way to get introduced to The Shack's tools. If you're still scratching your head, come by to The Shack and ask an employee or volunteer. They'll be happy to help!

If you have any other questions please drop-in or contact us at theshack@ualberta.ca.


The goals of The Shack are:

To celebrate science, technology, hardware, and innovation in the context of experiential learning and hands-on science education.
To create a mentoring environment in which an interdisciplinary community can thrive and students can practice new skills both individually and in teams.
To provide access to tools, resources, and support to promote and develop hands-on hardware skills and experiential learning.
To foster the synthesis of knowledge obtained in the classroom with psychomotor and application skills obtained in the lab, and to help students improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills in an interdisciplinary milieu.
To actively promote the development and physical realization of student creativity, both in curricular and extracurricular learning.
To contribute to substantial developments in research, experimental science, and curricular enhancements for students.
To promote the development of an active entrepreneurial culture.