H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab

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Where San Diego Business Starts

The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab provides a range of machines and resources that students use to build, test, and iterate their products. 

Technical student interns are trained in the latest rapid prototyping technologies available in the lab, and use the tools to quickly prototype and test their ideas. These resources help teams deliver an effective solution to customers in the shortest time possible. 

We provide value to teams in the ZIP Launchpad via two ways: 

  1. H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab Services - operating virtually
  2. Prototyping tools and workspace - (currently closed due to COVID-19)

Sign up to work with the Lab 

H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab Services

Technical student interns representing a variety of disciplines are available to assist in early-stage development of your business idea. See our services and portfolio below: 

ZIP Launchpad teams can commission a free basic logo with an average 1 week turnaround from the designer on staff with the lab. 

  • Simple Logo Development
  • Typography and Branding
logo example logo example
logo example logo example


Computer Science and design interns are available to design clickable software prototypes which showcase the features of your app or website. 

  • UI / UX Mockups 
  • Clickable Prototypes 
  • Software Design Feedback 


Mechanical Engineering students can help you design and render a photo-realistic model of your product idea, often used as an extremely effective communication tool between inventors and customers. 

  • CAD / 3D Modelling 
  • Photorealistic Renders 
  • 3D Printing
  • Hardware Design Feedback 
render example render example
render example photorealistic render example
photorealistic render example  

The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab can help launch teams build and host a basic website for feature testing, intent to purchase, and early adopter acquisition. All you need to provide is a domain! 

  • Landing Page w/ Features Overview
  • Product Page w/ Intent to Purchase
  • Analytics

With professional video editing software, the H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab staff can take your demo or prototype and build a demonstration video that can be used for customer feedback, promotion, channel testing, or fundraising. 


Prototyping Tools and Machinery

Physical lab space is currently closed due to Covid-19, please refer to this page for opening status. Lab Services are available virtually. 

  • Roughly 1000 sq ft of space
  • Workbenches and additional folding tables available
  • Dual monitor workstations with a variety of design software available
  • Materials storage available
  • Ultimaker 3
  • Formlabs Form 2
  • Robo R2
  • XYZ DaVinci - RepRap Mod
  • Stratasys Mojo
  • Universal Systems VLS350 50W laser engraver / cutter

VLS 3.50 | Tech-Labs

  • Levil 400
  • ShopBot 
  • Roland mdx-40a
  • Manual 3-axis mill
25/25-400 Plastic – Levil Technology  ShopBot Buddy Modela MDX-40A 3D Milling Machine | Roland DGA


  • Screwdrivers, files, measuring tape, calipers, handsaw, knife, and other basic hand tools
  • Hand Drill and Drill Press
  • Table Saw
  • Band Saw
  • Miter Saw / Chop Saw
  • Router / Router Table
  • Scroll Saw
  • Sewing Machine
  • Jig Saw / Circular Saw
  • Heat Gun
  • DC Power Supply
  • Oscilliscope
  • Solder Station w/ fan
  • Supply of basic capacitors, resistors, transistors, and other components

 lab layout


H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab History

The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab is an addition to the San Diego State University ZIP Launchpad. The Idea Lab will help students bring their ideas to life at no cost to our teams. Envisioned at the start was a lab with diverse tools and machines to help our teams with ideas from all seven Colleges. The lab contains 3D printers, a laser cutter, CNC mills, CNC routers, and many other tools. Engineering alumni will help the non-tech savvy each step of the way.

Hype Audio, a student team with only business students, is building a music device to listen while surfing. Their vision is great, however, they need support from an engineering perspective to make it possible. The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab provides this to Hype Audio. They are introduced to the limitations of different technologies, the costs associated with each, and planning practices to go from idea to prototype.

CNC Mills and 3D printers are not readily available to anyone and they can be a major hurdle for most start-ups. Vena is a ZIP Launchpad team building a power-free water condenser that can provide water for people living in extremely arid conditions. The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab offered the tools and resources that made it possible for Vena’s team to start building their product on campus. Vena is now successfully producing proofs of concepts that will be the foundation of more sophisticated prototypes. 

Thank you H.G. Fenton Company for your amazing support in making the lab a reality!