Tour de Fablab
This page will include a tour of fab lab related stuff.
For the moment, this is a quickly put together list of pointers for showing in a class. I should add some pictures and stories ...
- Daniel K. Schneider October 2011.
- Fab lab (overview article with links and bibliography)
- Fab labs in education (overview article with links and bibliography)
- Fablab TECFA (our tiny own one)
2 Academic impulse
2.1 Neil Gershenfeld (M.I.T.) - How to make almost everything
The MIT FabLab is considered to be the first fablab. Of course, there is a lot of prior stuff, but this lab did two things: (1) Show that you can build a lot within a high tech lab and (2) sponsor several FabLabs in other places, in particular in the third world.
- Prof. Neil Gershenfeld (MIT), personal homepage
- Fab Central. Some links to visit:
- Inventory with pictures of the Center for Bits and Atoms (MIT). A very "heavy" version.
- Propaganda video (2007)
- Fab Lab FAQ
- Fab Lab talk (HTML slides). Press "i" for navigation or use left/right arrows.
2.2 The RepRap project
- RepRap, a British project, is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper, which are now in its third generation ("Mendel" design). These 3D printers build the parts up in layers of plastics. They can be assembled from parts bought in various places. Several commercial designs are also derived from these designs. The latter are available both as kits and fully assembled
- See 3D printing
While the FabLab movement is mostly using standard low-end (or sometimes high-end) industrial hardware, the RepRap project had its highest impact in both "do-it-yourself" communities, hackers in the original senses of the word, i.e. Hacker (hobbyist) or Hacker (programmer subculture), and a wider public. “Much of this work was driven by and targeted to DIY/enthusiast/early adopter communities, with links to both the academic and hacker communities.” (Wikipedia (nov 2011).
2.3 Cornell's fabricator
Researchers and students at Cornell University. In a project called [ Fab@Home] (after Gershenfeld’s Fab Lab idea), researchers build a microwave-oven-sized 3D printer they called a “fabber.” Anyone can put a fabber together for a few hundred dollars. (Source: Rapid prototyping for the masses by Leslie Gordon)
Like the British RepRap probject, this project led to commercial products and the fabathome online community.
2.4 Any convergence ?
The RepRap project didn't have any relation to the fab lab movement and probably still doesn't have much. However, 3D printers are now part of most fab labs. The official MIT Fab lab 2.0 specification includes a commercial model. That makes sense, since the focus of fab labs is not auto-replication but fabrication.
3 Some Fab labs
Some contrasted examples
- Fablab Luzern (a more recent one, sponsored by a local university) and http://fablab.ch (national org.)
- FabLab Genève (new in 2013, small so far)
- Fablab Amsterdam (Europe's oldest or one of its oldest)
- Whispace Hackerspace Ghent] (see also Blog entries about Ghent Univ. college)
- Fab Lab Afghanistan (one of the first outreach labs sponsored by MIT)
- Fab Lab Kenia
- miniFABLAB (focus is on potential for home, artists, smaller schools, libraries and even mobile)
- Fablab TECFA (CCBB rated, i.e. almost as bad as it can get ....)
4 Not FabLabs, but ....
4.1 Digital design and fabrication in schools
- Quote (oct 2011): “The Digital Design and Technology Programme, which is funded by the Department for Education (DfE), previously the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) grows out of and builds on the two major curriculum development projects, CAD/CAM in Schools and the Electronics in Schools Strategy. Over the better part of a decade, these two programmes have provided specialist in-service training in CAD/CAM and electronics for more than 14,000 teachers.”
4.2 Hacker Spaces
Hackerspaces have similar goals in mind as FabLabs, i.e. they bring together people who like to create things. E.g the Hackerspaces wiki defines hackerspaces, as “community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.”. The difference is that hacker space rather work with computers and electronics, don't own (somewhat) expensive fabrication machinery and are rather grass-root movements, i.e. not financed by universities or other official bodies.
According to Wikipedia (10/2014), A hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art or electronic art; can meet, socialize and collaborate.
In general, hackerspaces function as centers for peer learning and knowledge sharing, in the form of workshops, presentations, and lectures. They usually also offer social activities for their members, such as game nights and parties. (Wikipedia)
4.3 Makerspaces and TechShops
These are initiatives in the "Do it yourself/"bricolage" tradition, but strongly geared towards digital design. They may operate like FabLabs or Hackerspaces, but also may be very different. E.g. TechShops provide industry-strength machinery.
Makerspaces are also tied to Make Magazine
Now imagine a long tail of things: physical goods created with the web's digital innovation model. That's the maker movement.(Quote from Wired Magazine)
4.4 Public Labs
Communities where you can learn how to investigate environmental concerns. Using inexpensive DIY techniques, change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms.
4.5 Open Wetlabs
- See Open wetlab
5 Fab lab communities
- Community web sites
- Symposium on Digital Fabrication and Norwegian Fab Lab Opening, 2005 (Norway)
- The Third International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication (2006, South Africa)
- FAB 4: The Fourth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication (2007, USA)
- FAB5: (The Fifth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication) in Pune, India. 2009 See Tom Okite's trip repor)
- Fab 6 | The sixth international Fab Lab conference, Holland, 2010
- Fab 7, Peru, 2010