Winter 2017 Workshops

The Design Bank is pleased to announce its Spring 2017 Workshops. These four week workshops provide a hands-on learning experience in design, rapid prototyping and innovation. Register Today!



Located in the northeast corridor of Indianapolis, the Design Bank is a makerspace dedicated to transforming a community through design, entrepreneurship and people-centered innovation-Impact in 3D. For the 2016 holiday season, the Design Bank will host a pop-up shop in downtown Indy’s Mass Ave Arts and Cultural District. The downtown MAKERSHOP location allows co-founders Wil Marquez and NaShara Mitchell the opportunity to increase consumer access to 3D Printing, custom gifts and trainings while featuring emerging creative entrepreneurs from the Northeast Corridor.  


Elephant House | Lecture at Design Bank by Swiss Arq. Philipp Heidemann

In response to recent events, New York Times writer Andrew Revkin's shared his thoughts on zoo's and our evolving relationships with animals like elephants, gorillas, and other highly social species. In the column, he writes, "this is a good time for humans to begin reassessing our relationship with captive animals on many levels, and reassess how we experience 'wild' life." 

Sanctuaries or showbiz zoos struggle to balance conservation and entertainment

 Lecture by  Philipp Heidemann  Friday June 24th, 2016  

Lecture by Philipp Heidemann Friday June 24th, 2016  

The contribution zoo's make through research, observation, and education has expanded our own understanding of the often blurred boundaries between animals and humans. Our co-evolution and curiosity with animals like elephants or whales calls to question the process, planning, and design of a species welfare and habitat. Unique projects, like the elephant house, that blend or immerse ideas of nature and physics further the discourse towards future co habitation and social understanding. The Design Bank is excited to advance the discussion for the City of Indianapolis. 

The Design Bank has invited Swiss Architect and Elephant House Project Architect Philipp Heidemann to share images and experiences around the The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park compound at the Zurich Zoo. 

Heidemann offers us an in depth look at the synergy of architecture and landscape at the Elephant Park at the Zurich Zoo and the conceptual, planning and building process of the characteristic roof structure - a freeformed, perforated timber shell with a free span of 260 ft. 

Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park Shell

Please come join the discussion.
The lecture will take place on Friday June 24th at 7:30 pm:
Design Bank
3636 E 38th St.
Indianapolis 46218

Mold Making w/ Artist Madeline Steimle

Whenever I stop by the Design Bank I get to meet new people and learn about exciting projects. A few weeks ago I got to help a student at IUPUI, Mark Spoleder, with a mold making project that combined 3D modeling, printing, and prototyping. Together Mark and I made a mold of a depth gauge cover for a project he is designing. This piece was one of many that would combine to make a tool allowing hikers, campers, and divers to take three dimensional scans of their environment.

Design Bank asked me to assist with mold making because as an artist I have been casting for years and always enjoy a challenge. Casting unique shapes and objects with different materials often takes a new approach and I was happy to find a way to replicate Mark’s design.

We printed several versions of the model, tweaking it, to find the best way of replication. We decided that a one part mold from a pourable urethane rubber would be the best solution. We ordered the rubber, gathered supplies, and met to pour the mold. After allowing the new mold to cure overnight we were able to remove the printed object and have a mold that could be used later for casting with plastic or resin. The flexible nature of the mold and its ability to hold details makes it great for multiple castings.

This project showed us the potential of technical skills and a hands-on approach. Assisting Mark with his prototype we were able to try a few different printing techniques, materials, and envision how different molds would work for each. To learn about this project stayed tuned to the next newsletter!

You can check out some of Madeline's art at her Etsy shop.


Many people who visit the Design Bank take note of our plastic 3D products, entrepreneurial concepts, and vintage steel vault.   Our maker ambitions may seem complex but they are quite simple - position design thinking as a contributor across multiple fields of knowledge AND retool clients and the public as to the opportunities available to advance ideas forward while reviving a spirit that many believe has exited the Hoosier psyche. 

    Initial Sketch by Design Bank 


Initial Sketch by Design Bank 

 Diagram of Toe Guard by Design Bank

Diagram of Toe Guard by Design Bank

We see 3D printing as big business and immediate equalizer.  Many people have NOT seen a 3D printer at work, unless you count seeing it on Grey's Anatomy or Big Bang Theory.  The explosive growth in all areas specifically in the healthcare arena has professors, students, professionals, and the general public curious and wowed about anything from pet prosthetics to titanium jaws. This explosive forty-six million dollar medical market speaks directly to an age of personalized healthcare. The best part about it is that it is commercially affordable and available here in Indianapolis. 

When Mrs. Lila walked into the Design Bank she came in limping and looking for a way design could intervene to keep her small toe from breaking a fifth time.  During our initial consultation she shared her trust for her doctor, but was not convinced by a recommendation to simply splint her two toes together. Lila took charge of her personal wellbeing.  The concept of advancing our personal health care through a process of printed iterations, material selections, and desired comforts takes us to a level of versioning that actualizes the lofty Jetson'esque or do it yourself concept. After all nobody knows your body or pain better that you. 

We are not suggesting that 3D printing is the magical substitute for all health or lifestyle innovations,  but the future of converting our personal ideas into physical mock-ups flips traditional models upside down. For Mrs. Lila and her new guard it means a renewed confidence to drive her own innovation and comfort.  It also means a healthcare system that can improve patient care and simulate anything from training to reduction processes.  The Design Bank of course is not a medical facility but sometimes design can come alongside alternative fields of knowledge to develop possibilities. 

                                                            Advanced Prototype by Design Bank  

                                                           Advanced Prototype by Design Bank  

                                                             Early Toe Guard Prototype Bank 

                                                            Early Toe Guard Prototype Bank 

Upcoming 3D Printer Build

On January 2nd and 3rd of the new year we will be hosting a build your own 3D printer workshop here at the Design Bank. This is an affordable way to get 3D printing in your home and will feature the Makerfarm Pegasus 8" kit. This kit comes in a few variations and we will be getting the aluminum heat bed mount, single extruder with an E3D v6 lite, the standard LCD screen, glass plate,  and power supply. You will also get a small tool kit that will work with any of the future upgrades you may wish to do and a full spool of filament. 

We have a Makerfarm Pegasus that we built in our shop and have been running Ninjaflex filament through for flexible prototypes. There are many reasons we chose this kit to build with you. First and foremost the kit is affordable and we wanted to offer something that could get your foot in the door of the 3D printing universe. Makerfarm has a reputation of selling quality kits and although this kit is relatively new, their older Prusa models have gotten some really good feedback from the community. We wanted a kit that was easy to assemble. Sure, you could get yourself a fully assembled printer for around the same price but then when it broke down you'd be at a loss on how to fix it. Assembling your own printer gives you both the knowledge of all the components of the machine as well as the confidence to know that you can work on it yourself when you need to. Lastly, the aluminum v-slot extruded rails allow for upgrades. If an 8" by 8" by 8" build volume becomes too small, you can upgrade those rails for a bigger build area. Need a dual extruder, Makerfarm has the upgrade ready to go. Want to print exotic filaments that require higher temperatures, just switch from the E3D v6 lite to the all metal E3D v6. This kit has lots of options.

Staff will be on hand to help you through the build of your printer and we'll have our Pegasus here for reference. Once assembled we will help you with the software and teach you how to level your bed and show you the appropriate height your nozzle should be from the build plate. If everything goes well you'll be walking out with a printer that is ready to make your ideas a reality. 

There are a few things that you will need to have for yourself to be ready to print at home. You'll want a good surge protector to plug your printer into to protect it from electrical surges, burnt out electronics are the most expensive part of a 3D printer and you'll want to protect them as best as possible. You will need a good level and sturdy surface to place your printer on at home, too much vibration will cause print quality issues. I have my home printer on a computer desk and it works well enough for me. Lastly, you'll want to pick yourself up some fragrance free hair spray. This will help PLA adhere to your glass plate. We personally recommend Aqua Net Extra Super Hold but just about any super hold hairspray will do as long as it's the aerosol type. As an added bonus you can put it in your hair and style up some amazing early 90s and 80s hairdos.

A few last notes; as we need some lead time to order all the parts and get them in we are cutting off the registration on December 15th. Parents and kids are encouraged to come together to build their kit. There is no soldering required for this build but parts of the printer do get hot. The Nozzle will reach temps of up to 250C or 485F and sometimes beyond. It is important to exercise caution when working with 3D printers and electronics in general. If you have any further questions please feel free to email us.

We look forward to hosting this workshop and hope to see you there!


Featured Artist - Nancy Flanigan

The Design Bank had the pleasure of teaching artists about 3D printing and 3D modeling. This month we are featuring Nancy Flannigan. Nancy was a toy sculptor for major companies for many years, beginning on the staff of Kenner Toys. She honed her sculpting skills there for eight years while working on a variety of projects including action figures for the first three Star Wars movies. Our class offered her the opportunity to try her hand at digital 3d modeling. 

Here is what she had to say about her process of design for this piece;

For my first 3d printing project, I decided I should try a simple design that I could use as part of a jewelry construction for a bib-type necklace. I have been studying the properties of water using various art mediums and chose water as the design inspiration for my sculpture. I used Sculptris and Rhino to create the digital 3d design. The same design was used, resized to make smaller pieces. I chose a translucent PLA to print the pieces, and painted the backs with acrylics to provide the blue tint. The finished piece is very close to my original vision! The course for adult artists offered by Design Bank was a perfect introduction to the 3d printing process.
— Nancy Flanigan

We are delighted to be able to host such creative talent and look forward to seeing what else our students create with their newly found tools!

Plainfield - Guilford Township Public Library 3D Printing + Entrepreneurship

On November 10th the Design Bank will be hosting a lecture/workshop at the Plainfield - Guilford Township Public Library. This workshop is geared towards young adults but all ages are welcome. We will be talking about 3D printing and entrepreneurship and how you can use this up and coming technology to your advantage. We will explore how others have used 3D printing to start their own business, create goods, and sold their art.

Join us from 5:30PM to 7:00PM at the Plainfield - Guilford Township Public Library.


Thirty-Eight Street or “Maple Road” is one of Indianapolis' unique and complex corridors. Its history dates back to the early 1900's when it was originally designed as a major parkway in the Park and Boulevard System Plan for Indianapolis by landscape architect George Kessler. Today it is the busiest corridor in the City of Indianapolis and boasts the most transit ridership year after year.
Exploring the talented Thirty-Eighth will reveal a opportunity for civic leaders to learn more about "first ring" challenges, policy blind spots, long term successes, and new futures. A compelling tour for cities trying to balance an inclusive workforce development strategy beyond the core.


The City of Indianapolis Cluster of CEO's for Cities  hosted its National Meeting on October 12-14th, 2015. Over 250 curious and engaging civic leaders from around the United States visited our circle city to explore how cities are educating, developing, training, retraining, attracting, and employing the currency of the new economy – talent.

Design Bank Co-Founder Wil Marquez and Mapleton Fall Creek Director Leigh Riley Evans were tasked with hosting what Visit Indy, Vice President of Destination Development Matt Carter called, "a balanced, relevant and representative perspective of Indianapolis, its success and challenges"

The Talented Maple Road was an organized tour of 38th Street and its approach to issues related to closing the skills gap, jobs and innovation, and developing an inclusive workforce.   Many thanks to those speakers and participants who work on behalf of a special arterial that while in continuous flux represents many communities and citizens! 

Those speakers include: 










Pathways Internship Program

Help your student launch their career!

Pathways Internship Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida. Application period is October 5 -October 9, 2015 for positions starting January 25, 2016.

There are 40-50 PAID positions for college sophomores through graduate students available in a wide range of areas such as Communications/Broadcasting, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Biology, Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Business, Accounting, & Finance.

For more information visit


Let's get STEAMED and ready to BLAB. Empowering girls through beauty and business. October 25-December 24 at the Design Bank. Details get to come!

Project Based Learning

This summer Design Bank and BORSHOFF chimed in on a Project Based Learning Project about Fall Creek Waterway w/ Tindley Accelerated Schools students. Students learned about Fall Creek's history, social justice, and science . They toured the Fall Creek Trailhead at 38th/Fall Creek and interviewed botanist, local stakeholders, and designers.

What came out of that experience was clear. Students loved Fall Creek but the issue that floated to the top was that they couldn't see the waterway. With an impediment in the way like this how could "Lyrical Park" happen for our youth?

What unfolded after we left that classroom is amazing! The vision of making a way to the waterway was our goal! I want to thank Mr. Joe King. If anyone deserves a "Mr. Do" award - it's him.

Shout out to the over 100 volunteers, Afscme Local #725, Indy Do Day, OneClick, AmeriCorps , Reconnecting to Our Waterways, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and City of Indianapolis for your help in making change happen for our youth.

Take a look! We found the waterway and found a few treasures.