Chatham University

Prototyping & Design Lab

Prototyping & Design Lab

Prototyping & Design Lab at the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University

The Prototyping & Design Lab is located at Chatham University's Eastside campus on the second floor, adjacent to the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship Hub. The Lab is open to community-based women entrepreneurs as well as Chatham University students, faculty and staff who are interested in designing and prototyping physical products. The Lab provides access to digital fabrication tools in an inclusive environment to inspire creativity and innovation.

The Lab features a variety of easy-to-use tools and equipment from local startups and established companies. It contains small creative and crafts materials, and flexible small-space tools such as a multi-functional 3D desktop printer, sewing machines, microcontrollers, robotics kits, other fine machining and textile processing tools.

A variety of local subject matter experts will facilitate hands-on workshops at the Lab in addition to webinars and hours by appointment. Entrepreneurs and students can test and iterate their prototypes at the Lab with guidance from these experts. This allows them to prototype their products as a first step toward commercialization in the most efficient way using lean entrepreneurship and design thinking principles.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, November 21

3D Modeling Workshop for Entrepreneurs

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn the basics of 3D modeling using the free online program TinkerCAD. Participants will be guided through three tutorials as a group and then have time to free build objects of their own design. Each participant will leave the workshop with their own TinkerCAD login to continue modeling on their own and get their designs 3D printed at our Prototyping & Design Lab. No prior experience is required: amateurs and beginners welcome! Please bring your own laptop! Facilitated by Erin Gatz and E. Louise Larson, founders of Prototype PGH, a feminist makerspace. Limited to 15 people.


Tuesday, December 05

Prototypes for Learning (webinar)

What is a prototype? How complete does it need to be? What can be shown to a potential user to gain feedback? This webinar will briefly introduce: paper; digital (clickable, no-code); 1 click web sites; 3D printed; hand-manufactured; and service prototypes. We will also discuss prototype evaluation methods for early learning and the importance of supporting continuous learning for best results. We will encourage participants to launch their products as early as possible to learn from the experience and improve more quickly. Facilitated by Carol Smith, Senior Design Manager and Researcher at IBM Watson. Free, online, registration required.


Thursday, December 07


Electronic textiles, also known as smart garments, smart clothing, smart textiles, or smart fabrics, are fabrics that enable digital components such as a battery and a light (including small computers), and electronics to be embedded in them. Smart textiles are fabrics that have been developed with new technologies that provide added value to the wearer. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of e-textiles based on a project. Facilitated by Lori Hepner, Artist and Associate Professor of Integrative Arts at Penn State University. Limited to 15 people.


Tuesday, December 12


This session will introduce various early planning frameworks such as the Business Model Canvas, SHIP IT (pamphlet inspired by Seth Godin’s Linchpin) and the importance of focus for success. Classic business texts and reliable online resources will be referenced. Carol will point to the importance of finding a good mentor for the founder and the business. Finally, the significance of spending time with and getting to know the customers/users to really understand their problems will be emphasized. Facilitated by Carol Smith, Senior Design Manager and Researcher at IBM Watson. Free, online, registration required.


Thursday, December 14

Using an Industrial Serger for Fashion & Product Design

This workshop will introduce entrepreneurs to the many applications of an industrial serger in fashion and product design. Lauren Sims, seamstress and entrepreneur, will demonstrate how to thread, troubleshoot, and sew using Chatham's factory-spec industrial 5-thread serger, and help you demystify this (sometimes intimidating) piece of equipment. Participants will have an opportunity to try out the serger and the single-needle sewing machine at the end of the demo. Limited to 15 people.


Click here to view past events.
Click here to view recordings of past webinars.