Beyond Books: The Lux Lab

As UCLA welcomes students back to campus, many physical Library resources once again accessible to the Bruin community. These spaces and materials that go beyond books and are available to anyone holding a valid BruinCard.

The Lux Lab is a maker service with locations in both the Charles E. Young Research Library and Powell Library that features emerging technology services including 3D printing and scanning, laser cutting and etching, and 3D mapping. Powell Library’s third-floor Lux Lab is home to the laser etcher, as well as Formlabs and Lulzbot printers. The Research Library location is on the first floor, next to the group study pods. This lab is home to a fleet of MakerBot printers, as well as Artec 3D scanners.

“We encourage all UCLA students, faculty, and staff to utilize this suite of emerging technology services that are allowed to use for academic projects, free of charge,” said Lux Lab Director Doug Daniels.

Lionel Zhang, a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, shared that his favorite Lux Lab creation was a mount for a camera using Formslab Fuse SLS printer, adding that it had “very tight tolerances, which would have been difficult to achieve on a budget 3D printer.”

Aligning with the UCLA Library’s teaching and learning-driven mission, the Lux Lab provides educational experiences for students eager to learn more about 3D printing and accompanying skills. While most Lab equipment is operated by Doug or his team of trained student employees, there is still plenty of room for observing and learning. Graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Sean O’Fallon, said he learned best practices for preparing objects for scanning and picked up some basic Adobe Illustrator skills in preparation for a file to be laser cut. Both O’Fallon and Zhang highlighted the helpfulness of Lux Lab staff,  who are eager to make the entire process straightforward and enjoyable.

“Doug is easy-going, highly knowledgeable, and extremely dedicated to helping students with their academic projects,” said Zhang. 

The Lux Lab is only open for academic requests; personal projects will not be considered. To access the Lab, fill out the online request form. Once your request is accepted, the Lux Lab will reach out to schedule an appointment for you to come in with the materials needed to cut, scan or print. For any questions, please email

What’s on the horizon for the UCLA Library’s Lux Lab? 

“It’s my goal to offer support in VR in teaching and research soon,” said Daniels.


Image 1 Credit: Lionel Zhang - Post-processing the camera mount

Image 2 Credit: Lionel Zhang - Mount for a camera printed from the Formslab Fuse SLS printer

Image 3 Credit: Sean O'Fallon - 3D scans of ant nest casts that he and Doug Daniels created for his experimental work on ant nest architecture

ant nest scan Sean created