Texas Inventionworks™ is a program that accelerates innovation and the creation of innovators, helps faculty enhance curriculum, and establishes a community for design, build and test activities where students and faculty from many disciplines can learn and invent, together. Texas Inventionworks members are the community and by taking on the roles and responsibilities outlined in this document they create the most important thing: its vibrant, welcoming and inventive culture. Members cultivate the courage to try new things. To create. To fail. To try again.

We students, faculty and staff are dedicated to becoming the community to cultivate this industrious spirit and work to make every member an exceptional engineer, designer or innovator: one who operates with great integrity, improves everything they touch (by trying, failing and editing), can debug anything quickly, knows what’s valuable, helps others be great, is creative and positive, and is an adept entrepreneurial thinker. Being a member 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.

To become a member, you need to read this document and then complete an online quiz. You will then be entered into our system and become eligible to complete online and on-site training for other labs and machines. Membership is available to currently-enrolled Cockrell School students, to members of authorized multi-disciplinary classes or innovation projects, to members of our student staff and via a limited number of faculty guest memberships.


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 described in this document, to follow rules or to cooperate with staff can result in suspension or termination of your membership and with it, your access to services, machines and facilities. 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 Texas Inventionworks resources for both parties without regard for team projects, competitions or classes.


You are responsible for the safety of everyone at all times. Always keep an eye out for yourself and others. Think about that every time you enter a Texas Inventionworks facility. If you are not completely certain about how to use any tools or equipment correctly and safely, ask staff or other students. At some point we are all uncertain about how to use a given machine. 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.


We 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 talking about and developing their ethics to maintain integrity or risking them both.

To get started in this daily effort, invest time to learn about ethics. It is a big subject. You have a great UT “Ethics Unwrapped” resource available online and there are codes of engineering ethics developed within every engineering discipline. More information may be found in the links below.

You will have conflicts of interest (perhaps starting with a conflict between studying and social activity) and you will encounter situations where 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.

If you see something, say something immediately. When you recognize conflicts of interest or something that appears to diverge from the highest ethical standards, you must act. Ask a question. Start the conversation. You can talk to other students, our staff, your supervisor or manager, you can call the UT Ethics Hotline (877-507-7321), you can 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.


Know the rules. Several big ones are listed below. You will also find rules associated with labs related to clothing, protective equipment and the safe use of machines. More information is posted in those labs, addressed during training, posted on our website and available from staff members.

  • You may not make weapons or anything to sell.
  • Unless you have written consent, tools and machines are for use in our labs only.
  • 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.
  • While you may have water to drink, no other food or beverages may be consumed in our lab facilities.
  • Ask before offering advice.


Any area, tool or machine you touch must be left clean, ready and in excellent working order. If there is any issue with a tool, workspace or machine 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 – just 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.


You must play many roles here. Of course, you will be a safety monitor, learner, designer and active team member. But be ready to be a mentor, floor sweeper, volunteer, leader and ambassador. Reaching our goal to be a vibrant hub for UT and a nationally recognized organization depends heavily your performance in these roles. When you enter any of our lab facilities it’s like you’re on stage.


For classes or student-led projects usage is free. Generally, materials are not. If you need a small amount of tape or glue or a screw, resistor, capacitor or other inexpensive, common item to solve a problem, we may have supplies to give you. For modest sized parts, filament on the entry-level machines is free. We have a limited amount of scrap (wood, plastic and metal) and a variety of parts from old projects also available for free. We sell pre-cut acrylic and wood for laser cutters, charge for the material usage in advanced 3D printers and stock small electronic and mechanical supplies. The vending machines at the end of the hall carry a variety of electronic components. We can only accept Bevo Bucks or apply charges to UT account numbers. Please see a staff member for assistance. We do not carry pens, paper or other office supplies. We can help find sources for almost anything, though.


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 Office of Technology Commercialization.


We welcome members from across Texas, from every state and from around the world. Be actively inclusive. You will have opportunities to interact with people who have different backgrounds, ideas, goals, perspectives and experience. 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.


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 alumni, friends of UT or company supporters 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.


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 Dr. Scott Evans, the director of Texas Inventionworks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..