Texas Inventionworks accelerates innovation and the creation of innovators with six interconnected initiatives: a curriculum lab for professors; education in design, facbrication and innovation; an innovation accelerator; access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipmen; research partnerships; and engagement with industry. It is where Longhorns from many disciplines can learn and invent, together. And at the heart of the organization is our culture of discovery, collaboration, entrepreneurial thinking and invention.

To access our facilities and other resources, you need to be a member of our community. Membership is available to currently enrolled Texas Engineering students, to members of authorized multidisciplinary classes or innovation projects and to a limited number of faculty guests. To become a member, we ask that you read this document, fill out and sign a copy of the Membership Promise and submit it to a Texas Inventionworks staff member. You will then be entered into our system, gain access to several prototyping labs and become eligible to complete online and on-site training for other labs and machines.

The numbered paragraphs below match the numbered statements in the Membership Promise.

I.

Texas is a special place. A certain industrious spirit and confidence permeates our university and the people of the state that we serve. As a member of our community, we hope that you will cultivate this personally. Try new things. Create. Fail. Try again. Figure out how to do it by doing it. After a while, you might even consider adopting as a motto, “aut inveniam viam aut faciam,” which means, “I will either find a way or make one.”

II.

We students, faculty and staff are dedicated to becoming the community to cultivate this industrious spirit and to make every Cockrell School of Engineering student an exceptional engineer. Exceptional engineers operate with great integrity, improve everything they touch (by trying, failing and editing), can debug anything quickly, know what’s valuable, help others be great, are creative and positive, and are adept entrepreneurial thinkers. Entering our facilities or participating in our programs gives you the opportunity to begin to operate this way - in the middle of an invention and innovation community that you are helping to create.

III.

Design and design thinking are at the heart of everything we do. It is central to the organization of our facilities, to learning how to use machines, to how we support classes and to the product development and other engineering work in our facilities. Design connects realizing opportunities, creating ideas, building, testing and finally, refining into solutions. Designing solutions is where you get to change the world, and while it takes years to become a really skilled designer, it starts here.

IV.

Within all of our facilities, everyone is responsible for the safety of everyone. Be brave, ask questions. No one knows all of the machines and at some point, everyone knew none of them. If you are not completely certain about how to use any tools or equipment correctly and safely, ask staff or other students. Always keep an eye out for yourself and others. If you see someone without safety glasses or about to use a tool unsafely, say something right then. If you are reminded about machine use or safety – you say, “thank you.” Safety violations are taken seriously and can be grounds for suspension or expulsion.

V.

We work daily to operate with the highest ethical standards. Ethics are behind the choices you make every day and influence how you live, how you work and how you interact with and influence others. Ethics are not a thing – they are the way you operate and maintain your integrity. People and organizations are either developing their ethics and maintaining integrity or risking them both.

To get started in developing your ethics, invest some time to learn about ethics. It is a big subject. There are great Ethics Unwrapped resources available online and there are codes of engineering ethics developed by every engineering discipline. More information may be found in the links below.

You will have conflicts of interest to navigate (perhaps starting with a conflict between studying and social activity) and you will encounter situations in which the ethical action is not clear. If you take the time to think through and to discuss conflicts and challenging situations you cultivate your ethics and the standards of any community you are a part of. Just like your duty to everyone’s safety, if you see something, say something immediately. When you recognize conflicts of interest or something that appears to diverge from the highest ethical standards, we encourage you to start the conversation. You can also talk to our staff, your supervisor or manager, call the UT Ethics Hotline (877-507-7321), submit an anonymous online report, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The University of Texas at Austin does not tolerate retaliation against anyone who asks questions or raises concerns in good faith.

Ethics Resources:

VI.

Every member has several other roles, too. Be ready to take advantage of opportunities to be a learner, floor sweeper, volunteer, mentor, designer, leader, active team member and ambassador. Reaching our goal to be a vibrant and nationally recognized organization depends on your embracing many roles. When you enter any of our lab facilities take a moment to think about the many roles and responsibilities you have just assumed.

VII.

We welcome members from across Texas, from every state and from around the world. You will have opportunities to interact with people who have different backgrounds, ideas, goals, perspectives and experience. Be actively inclusive. The most innovative teams by far are simply those who make sure everyone is actively involved. This means working to understand the people around you and to make sure their contribution is sought, recognized and included. Diversity is an asset, not a goal.

VIII.

We are very fortunate. There has not been a central place for design, engineering and invention in the Cockrell School before and no other university has a program quite like ours. This is a new era that you are helping to shape. Very generous and very substantial donations of funding, time and equipment by many people and organizations have been invested, and will continue to be needed. You may be fortunate to meet some of the people who have helped make this possible – most of all they want to hear about your work in the space. Please remember to say, “thank you.” In those moments, you are our ambassador to the world. And, in that moment you might be making a very valuable connection.

IX.

Our focus is on becoming a great community, but there are a few rules. Some of our general rules are listed below. There are also rules associated with labs related to clothing, protective gear that must be used and rules for the use of machines. More information about rules that apply to labs is posted in those labs, addressed during training, posted on our website and available from staff members.

  • Use of the facilities is not for making weapons or anything to sell.
  • Ask before offering advice.
  • Unless you have written consent, tools and machines are for use in our labs only.
  • While you may have water to drink, no other food or beverages may be consumed in our lab facilities.
  • Do not even touch the work or property of others without their permission.
  • Use only machines or lab facilities that you are certified by our staff to use.
  • Taking extra supplies, like screws, glue, resistors or solder is theft from the community.
  • With the possible temporary exception of some 3D printers, do not leave any tool or machine both on and unattended.

X.

Leave any area, tool or machine you touch clean, ready and in excellent working order. If there is any issue when you arrive or start working, notify a staff member immediately and they will work with you to find a solution. Even with your careful attention, tools and machines may not perform as expected. Sometimes they may break or malfunction. We already know these things are going to happen sometimes – so please let a staff member know immediately. These are opportunities for us to learn and to build better training and safety. Before you leave a tool, machine or workspace, make it look like you were never there. Leaving labs, work areas, tools or machines that are dirty, broken or in poor condition is not acceptable.

XI.

It is a privilege to be a member of this community. It is not a right. Failing to assume the roles or to uphold the responsibilities introduced in previous paragraphs, to follow written rules or to cooperate with staff can lead to the suspension or revocation of your membership and with it, your access to its machines and facilities. Again, safety is taken seriously. Providing access to a lab, workspace or machine for someone not certified or not authorized will result in a semester suspension of access to all maker space resources for both parties without regard for team projects, competitions or classes.

XII.

If you are an undergraduate, you own all of your intellectual property (IP) except for IP you create that is directly related to your work as an employee of The University of Texas at Austin. This area can get complicated quickly and professional guidance is strongly recommended. To get started, you can review materials available from the UT Office of Technology Commercialization.

XIII.

We have some materials for sale and can help find sources to purchase almost anything to support projects. We sell pre-cut acrylic and wood for laser cutters, charge for the material usage in advanced 3D printers and stock a vending machine to carry small electronic and mechanical supplies. If you need a small amount of tape or glue or a screw, resistor, capacitor or other inexpensive, common item to solve a small problem, we may have supplies that we can give you. We also carry a very limited amount of scrap materials. Please see a staff member for assistance. We do not carry paper or other office supplies.

XIV.

Finally, two questions for you: Have we missed anything here? How would you improve this document or other parts of our materials, processes and approach? Everything in this community is open to your assessment, revision and improvement. We welcome the chance to include your contributions. You may discuss your thoughts with any staff member or send any questions or recommendations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sign the Membership Promise