November 05, 2020
4 min read

How to Decide What Equipment to Buy for Your Makerspace

You’re building out a makerspace or you’re ready to buy new equipment for an existing fab lab. From the hundreds of equipment options to outfit your space, how do you decide what to invest in? We’ve seen the most successful spaces have a mix of low-cost and higher quality equipment. This provides versatility for your students and instructors who have varying skills and levels of creativity. 

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of both types of technical education equipment for your school or university:

Low-Cost Equipment

  • Approachable for new students
  • Less complex 
  • Easier to afford multiple pieces of the same equipment so you have others available to use if one breaks down
  • Open-source, which allows you to purchase non-proprietary consumables, such as filament for 3D printers

High-Quality Equipment

  • Endless opportunities for students to be innovative using industry-relevant equipment
  • Many features, with greater throughput 
  • Reliable, long-term investments with local, professional support services
  • For 3D printers, proprietary materials that allow for consistency and durability

If you’re ready to explore high-quality equipment that will bring value to your space for years to come, here are some to check out:

ProtoMAX Waterjet Cutter side view
ProtoMAX Waterjet Cutter
  • OMAX, the manufacturer, has been perfecting the complex process of waterjet cutting for almost 30 years
  • 30,000 psi pump for cutting
  • Uses the same technology as in OMAX’s larger systems
Stratasys J55 3D Printer
Stratasys J55 3D Printer
  • Patented technology that blends CMYK photopolymers to create over 500K pantone validated colors
  • Soluble support technology allows for the design of highly complex geometries and dynamic assemblies
  • High-resolution and consistent outputs

Epilog Laser

Epilog FusionPro Laser
Epilog FusionPro Laser
  • Built for safety 
  • Air-cooled laser tubes last up to 4x longer than water-cooled, which are often found in cheap lasers. They also overheat, requiring you to pause jobs while they cool
  • High-quality components, including high-radiance optics for better resolution, Kevlar belts for long-life and greater accuracy, and servo motors for high-speed

Buying equipment for your makerspace is an important decision. At AET Labs, we have been bringing real-world industry experience to New England education customers for the past 15 years. We are here if you need help creating a makerspace or fab lab that meets the needs of your students and your building.