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IDEA Lab

Located on the Eighth Floor of Central Library

IDEA Lab logo

Open Hours (All ages)

      Monday 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
      Tuesday 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
      Wednesday 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
      Thursday 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
      Friday 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
 

The IDEA Lab at San Diego Public Library is a multimedia lab designed to prepare teens for 21st century job skills by exposing them to new technology.

The IDEA Lab tech team interns from the E3 Civic High School partnered with MACSD instructor Jesse Keller to produce a short video below highlighting the IDEA Lab and all it has to offer.

PDF icon IDEA Lab Brochure

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Using the IDEA Lab

  • IDEA Lab computers are intended to be used for projects that require the IDEA Lab’s specialized software. Computers for email, job searching, and other internet browsing are available throughout the library.

Policies and Procedures

  • All users, please check in with IDEA Lab staff and complete the online check-in form before beginning your session.
  • Parents or guardians of patrons under 18, may accompany their children while in the IDEA Lab.
  • All equipment (computers, digital pens, headphones) must be signed out with a staff member for use in the IDEA Lab (2 hours max).
  • Save your work to your own removable or cloud storage.
  • Library staff reserves the right to ask you to discontinue working on your project in the IDEA Lab.
  • Patrons are expected to comply with all Library Rules of Conduct.

Photo of the interior of the IDEA Lab at the Central Library

Available Software Programs

  • 3D Design: Blender, OpenSCAD, Sculptris, SketchUp
  • Adobe: Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro
  • Audio/Visual: Final Cut Pro X, iMovie, iPhoto, Logic Pro X, Photo Booth, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Media Player
  • Coding: Arduino, Python, Unity
  • Graphic Design: Bamboo Wacom Dock (and tablets), GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, Silhouette Studio

Technology Software Resources List

The following technology software resources list is compiled to provide you with suggestions for web-based, downloadable, open source, freeware and low-cost software to use on your personal devices. Some may be accessible in the IDEA Lab.

Open Source 3D Modeling Software

AutoDesk Fusion 360 - 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool. It connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac & PC.
Blender - Home of the Blender project - Free and Open 3D Creation Software.
Design Spark - Resources & tools to aid engineers in design process.
OnShape - CAD system. Eliminates design gridlock & helps engineers do their best work.
OpenSCAD - Create solid 3D CAD objects. Available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows/Mac OS X.
Sculptris - Sculpting software program, focus on the concept of modeling clay.
SketchUp - 3D modeling software that's easy to learn and incredibly fun to use.
Thingiverse - Download files and build them with your laser cutter, 3D printer, or CNC.
TinkerCAD - 3D CAD design tool. Quickly turn ideas into a CAD model for a 3D printer.
 

3D Splicing Software for Printing

Simplify3D - Compatible with hundreds of 3D printers. See videos.
MakerBot Print - Free software to prepare, manage, and share 3D prints.
Ultimaker Cura - Ultimaker Cura prepares your model for 3D printing.
 

Open Source Electronic Prototyping

Arduino - Enabling users to create interactive electronic object.
 

Computer Programming

Code Academy - An online freemium interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages (Python, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and Sass, markup languages HTML and CSS).
Hopscotch - An app that helps people learn how to code through a visual language. Optimized for coding games. The programming language centers around "blocks" that you drag and drop to build routines.
Raspberry Pi - A tiny and affordable computer. Learn programming.
Scratch - Create your own interactive stories, games, & animations.
 

Web Development

CodePen - A social development environment. Allows you to write code in the browser, and see the results of it as you build. A useful and liberating tool for developers of any skill, and particularly empowering for people learning to code. Focusing on front-end languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and preprocessing syntaxes that turn into those things.
Coffeecup - Responsive Web Design Tools and HTML Software.
W3Schools - A web developers site, with tutorials and references on web development languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, Python, W3.CSS, and Bootstrap), covering most aspects of web programming.
 

Free Graphic Design Software

GIMP - A free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
Inkscape - Professional quality vector graphics software (Linux, Mac OS X & Windows).
Krita - Raster graphics editor, designed primarily for digital painting & animation.
Silhouette Studio - Design & send to Silhouette electronic cutting machine.
 

Open Source Video Editors

DaVinci Resolve - Professional offline and online editing, color correction, audio post production and now visual effects.
Kizoa - Online Movie Maker/Video Maker/Slideshow Maker. Personalize photos/videos/music with effects, text, & more!
Lightworks - Professional non-linear editing system for editing and mastering digital video in vari-ous formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions, and television in PAL, NTSC, and high-definition formats.
Shotcut - Cross-platform video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux.
 

Photo Editors

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor - Get all the essential tools, including Lightroom and Photoshop, for crafting incredible images every day.
Fotor - Free online designer and editing tool catering to all your photographic and image creation needs! Add filters, frames, text, stickers and more.
GIMP - Free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
Pixlr Editor - A free robust browser photo editor. Have full control over your images, including layers and effects.
 

Free CNC Milling Software

Easel - 3D Carving Made Easy. Design, import, and carve for free from a single program with Easel.
 

Project Ideas & Resources

Instructables - Learn how to make anything with Instructables. Easy to follow step-by-step instructions, online classes, and a vibrant maker community.
Inventables Projects - Inventables: the hardware store for designers. We help designers buy the products they need.
MAKE - Celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.
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