A Look Back At FabLab Stoughton | Madison-Make48 Recap

Last week we held our third Make48 competition, thirty minutes from Madison, at the FabLab Stoughton.


2022 Madison-M48 group photo at FabLab Stoughton

The Badgineers, WI Made, FIXtures, We fail fast., UW-Stout MOC, UW-Stout Industrial Design, and Stellar Tech Girls were challenged by TREK Bicycle to find a solution that benefits the community and environment by recycling bicycle waste from parts that would end up in the landfill. They could include: old bike tires, alloy frames, helmets, shoes, and even bicycle packaging.


Meet the 2022 Madison Teams


Teams were responsible for building a physical prototype, creating a one-minute marketing video and one page sales sheet. They also had the opportunity to work with some of the best designers and engineers in the bike industry to get them to the finish line.



Jesse, Zach and Ben with Madison teams


Ben Fisher, Zach Huber and Jesse Garrison were mentors from TREK Bicycle Corp. Hans Eckholm, Chad Manuell and Nicole Hageman were judges who were tasked with the difficult assignment to choose one winner. Hans is the Design Director at TREK and an industrial designer by training. As a judge, he felt the pressure of picking the right prototype and was focused on the user experience. “What I think I’ll bring to the judging process is really imagining somebody using the product. We have a set of criteria that we're going to use for judging and I'm going to be looking at all of that to make sure that they've considered all the aspects of the design. It's easy to get excited about something that looks great or has great storytelling, but does it actually fulfill all the requirements, and that’s something I'm going to pay attention to.”


L to R: Hans Eckholm, Nikki Hageman and Chad Manuell

Chad Manuell is the Global Director of Engineering and has been with TREK for 20+ years. The challenge of sustainable mobility is very important to him and their company. “There are two key aspects of the challenge that we want to touch on. One is getting more people on bikes to help solve some of the world's most complex problems by like reducing pollution. Two, bicycles have been given a pass because they're very sustainable when you compare them to people driving around, burning fossil fuels. Instead of getting a pass, we’re saying, bikes are a more sustainable way for people to move around AND we're able to design bikes with more sustainable materials and make those designs more circular. We can make a really big impact and save the planet fast.”


Creating a prototype for an important challenge took a location that had the space and materials and we found everything we needed and more at the FabLab Stoughton. The city of Stoughton has a gem within their county lines at Stoughton High School, where community leaders know the importance of nurturing innovation and STEM learning in their backyard.



VIP Chat with Make48 leadership and Mike Connor (far right)

Mike Connor is one of the founders and an advisor at FabLab Stoughton and led the charge to bring the 48-hour competition event to Wisconsin’s first FabLab. “My initial struggle was to make sure that it wasn't all about the competition. The $2,000 prize and going to Nationals is cool, but to get the average person off the street and have the experience in them is pretty awesome. That's the part I like about it.”


Tool Techs were there to build the teams’ prototypes, as well as the trophies. Make48 called on some well-known makers and creators from our sponsors and the community.


Madison Tool Techs at FabLab Stoughton H.S.

Luke Gelman is a YouTube maker, representing TotalBoat at his first event.



“I decided that I would pass on doing it last year, then a few of my friends became pretty heavily involved in it. This year I thought this could be a lot of fun and I want to get out and be with more makers and creative types.


I'm always looking for new inspiration and this is an event filled with creative people and excitement. Now that I'm here and seeing it with my eyes, I just want to do more. I can't wait to see the ideas that everyone's coming up with.”




PTC Onshape helped the teams with their CAD and prototypes. Onshape are sponsors of the city events, and their designers have been instrumental this year in producing their designs. Lindsay, Dan and Teighlor were on-site over the weekend.


PTC Onshape team

Lindsay told us, “I personally came to the competition because I really love design and innovation. I was excited about a 48-hour compressed cycle and brought my son with me so that he could see the engineering process.”





Joel Gordon from MatterHackers returned after attending his first event in Milwaukee. He led the 3d printing designs on the Ultimakers, lasering on the Glowforge, and the music selection in the team pit. Set up within the main hub, Joel got a front seat with the teams and their work. “Yesterday everybody was brainstorming and getting that first iteration. They really hit hard right off the bat. Typically on the first day, you won't see these machines running. Almost immediately, they were handing me files. We were 3d printing, the guys in the woodshop were working and the metal shop was flying. Right away, everybody was kind of beyond, let's go past the paper phase and start making stuff. This is really a hands-on group.”


Piper and Joel collaborating on a project

Stoughton students and faculty volunteered to be tool techs at the event. Piper is a junior at SASD and loves the FabLab classes offered. She helped our team and tool techs with multiple tasks. “So far I have helped the team by putting together settings for the 3d printers and printing any of the components that they need. I've done laser cut work for the teams and I like to think I'm here for more support.”

Piper created the metal laser plaque for the first-place trophy


Lumafield was a new sponsor this year. Based in Massachusetts, Drew and James came out to Madison with an invitation from TREK. Lumafield is bringing the world’s first accessible X-Ray CT scanner for engineers. Watching how the technology works in person was very cool and the teams were able to utilize it for their products. Drew worked with one of the teams directly.




“We've talked to a bunch of the teams about what they have going on and spot consulted here and there. One team we've helped out is building an accessory that involves the saddle. They wanted to design something that would fit onto the saddle, so we scanned the saddle for them and then exported the scan into a mesh and gave it to the Onshape team. Then they used that to help build their CAD around it.”

Lumafield 3D Scan Video of Team Prototype



Drew also noted how impressed he was with the Stoughton FabLab. “You feel like this has got to be the future of education. I can't imagine what it would have been like to grow up and be able to do something like this.”



After the 48 hours was over, emotions were running high at the pitches and judging ceremony. Mike Connor and the Stoughton district were surprised by a community giveback from AprilAire and Alliant Energy.


Final night reveal


Michelle Yun, Senior Manager of Strategy and Electrification at Alliant Energy explained how much innovation and sustainability means to their industry. “Our purpose of Alliant Energy is to serve customers and build strong communities and we know that a sustainable future is what's best for our communities. It will bring us forward into the future of power and beyond. We're investing in technologies to make sure that we are resilient and meeting our customers' needs throughout all different seasons and all the challenges that climate can bring.”


Michelle Yun interviewing with SIS

We were blown away by the FabLab and the inspiration of Mike Connor and his SASD students and the amazing team at TREK. Collaboration and inspiration flowed through every hallway, the SASD are welcome at any future Make48 events.


The highlight reel will be released in a few weeks. ‘Til then catch us on the road…next stop is Indianapolis at Fishers Maker Playground!







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