Skip to main content

Public Library

Mobile IDEA Lab

IDEA Lab logo

Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox IDEA Lab
215 W. Washington St.|San Diego CA, 92103
Phone: 619-692-4910
Open Hours:
Tuesdays 5 - 7 PM
Please contact staff for use outside these hours.
  • 3D printed models
  • Laser cut and engraved models

This unique mobile makerspace features a laser cutter, 3D printer, vinyl cutter and multimedia laptops. Check the Library Calendar of Events for beginner workshops and regular programs offered or to reserve a time to use the equipment.



Get the creativity flowing sign

Collaborative Space for Makers
Imagine, design and fabricate almost anything with our makerspace equipment.
Glowforge Pro Laser Cutter
Flashforge Finder 3D Printer
Silhouette Cameo 3

Multimedia Laptops

Person working on a laptop computer

Multimedia Laptops
Laptops with Adobe Creative Cloud. Photoshop to edit photographs, Premiere Pro to edit videos, Illustrator for vector graphic design, and much more.
2 MacBook Pro Laptops
Adobe Creative Cloud
Simplify 3D
Silhouette Studio

Lab Policy

Walk-ins are welcome during open lab hours, but will be helped on a first come, first served basis. To schedule time to use the Mobile IDEA Lab outside these hours, please book an appointmentwith staff at or by phone at 619-692-4910.
Food is not allowed but drinks are permitted in covered containers. We encourage respect of the equipment, staff and one another. We have zero tolerance for theft, vandalism, violence, profanity and illegal activity. Violations of our library Rules of Conduct could result in having lab privileges revoked.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IDEA Lab?
IDEA is an acronym for Innovate, Discover, Experience, and Achieve. The purpose of SDPL’s IDEA Labs are to inspire interest in science, technology, design, and 21st century skills in those who visit one of our makerspaces. A library makerspace gives community members access to tools, technology, and social connections that may not be easily accessible otherwise.
Who can use the IDEA Lab?
The Mobile IDEA Lab is intended for all patrons to use for projects approved by a staff member.
Do I need a library card?
No, the IDEA Lab is open to all patrons with or without a library card.
What resources do you offer?
We have a 3D printer, a laser cutter, a die cut machine, and MacBook laptops.
How much does it cost to use the equipment?
We provide filament for 3D printing free of charge but you will have to bring your own materials to use the laser cutter or die cut machine.
How do I make a reservation? Reservations can be made by contacting staff at You can reserve any of our equipment ahead of time.
Do you offer tours or class visits for the IDEA Lab?
Tours and class visits can be scheduled by contacting the library at 619-692-4910 or by emailing

Volunteer Opportunities

If you are interested in volunteering in the IDEA Lab our opportunities are listed here.

For volunteer opportunities at other library locations, please click here.


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.

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.
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.