Forget “Do It Yourself”:
Fab Labs are about

Do It Together

  • Fab Lab: noun, Fabrication Laboratory.  A fully-kitted workshop giving you the power to turn ideas and concepts into reality.
  • Fab Labs give people back “The Power of Making“.
  • Fab Labs foster the entrepreneurial  spirit, by providing the space, equipment and help to rapidly turn ideas into working prototypes.

What is a Fab Lab?  What Can I Do There?  Who Benefits?

Three different videos: three different takes.  Which one works for you? (Expand them to full screen by clicking the rectangle in the bottom right of the video.)

Fab Labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began in the Centre for Bits and Atoms” at MIT, and have now spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway.

What Happens in a  Fab Lab?

  • Reconnect with the satisfaction of making things:
    “Technological Empowerment” for the whole community: children, adults, seniors, businesses, schools, colleges, academia
  • Work together on projects, gaining technical training along the way
  • Work with your local community to solve local problems
  • Get help for your businesses to branch out into new fields, quickly and cheaply
  • Develop and research brand news ideas.

Around the world people in Fab Labs are working on solar and wind-powered turbines, new IT ideas, new ideas for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines(!)

Who Are Fab Labs UK?

We are a group of people who are passionate about regaining the ability to make stuff, and concerned that the UK is rapidly falling behind in the introduction of Fab Labs.

Our mission is to mobilise the innate technical creativity in the UK, by getting industry, commerce, academia, and local and national government behind us, and creating a network of 50 Fab Labs across the UK within the next five years.

The Fab Lab Charter

What is a fab lab?

Fab labs are a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access to tools for digital fabrication

What’s in a fab lab?

Fab labs share an evolving inventory of core capabilities to make (almost) anything, allowing people and projects to be shared

What does the fab lab network provide?

Operational, educational, technical, financial, and logistical assistance beyond what’s available within one lab

Who can use a fab lab?

Fab labs are available as a community resource, offering open access for individuals as well as scheduled access for programs

What are your responsibilities?

  • safety: not hurting people or machines
  • operations: assisting with cleaning, maintaining, and improving the lab
  • knowledge: contributing to documentation and instruction

Who owns fab lab inventions?

Designs and processes developed in fab labs can be protected and sold however an inventor chooses, but should remain available for individuals to use and learn from

How can businesses use a fab lab?

Commercial activities can be prototyped and incubated in a fab lab, but they must not conflict with other uses, they should grow beyond rather than within the lab, and they are expected to benefit the inventors, labs, and networks that contribute to their success.

Background to Fab Labs

Here’s the founder of the Fab Lab idea, describing it in Manchester:

Here’s Professor Neil Gerschenfeld at TED.

14 Responses to About

  • Pingback: The Launch of Fab Labs UK | Fab Labs UK

  • I was so excited when I heard about Fab Labs on BBC radio 4. The idea is brilliant. Any possibility of getting one in the north of Scotland? Here in Caithness we have an interesting combination of high tech science and engineering with Dounreay and the growing renewable energy sector and a long tradition of improvising and maintaing mechanical equipment from agriculture–often overlooked but still an important part of both economy and culture of Caithness and highlands.

    I have started a social enterprise using knitting to help people get or stay smart because doing things with our heads has implications far beyond the task at hand. I don’t think I have skills even with a lot of help to do what I would like in Fab lab, so I will pass along my wee idea here in the hopes that someone will pick it up.

    I’d like some simple gearing mecxhanisms that would allow a latter day scarecrow to move counter to the prevailing winds or in the absence of any wind. Birds adjust to repeated patterns and know well the difference between flapping in the wind and moving, but if the patterns were varied, delayed in response to wind or even moved counter to wind then they could be successful. Mechanism should be simple enough to install in place or maybe even instructions on how to adapt bicycle wheels or other excess parts would be great. Although I imagine scarecrows here in Caithness, the principle could apply to any place where birds can make too much damage to crops. This would be not harmful to birds and could be a great application of solar and or wind energy.
    Best,
    Sharon Pottinger

  • Eddie Kirkby says:

    Dear James,

    Firstly let me allay your concerns that the UK is rapidly falling behind in the introduction of Fab Labs – we are supporting the opening of 3 new Fab Labs opening in the UK early next year in Keighley, Belfast and Londonderry and are working with many more who are still in the planning stages.

    The Manufacturinng Institute (who run the Manchester Fab Lab) are currently working with MIT to create the UK & Ireland Fab Lab Network which will be in operation in 2012.

    The cold reality is that to introduce a financially sustainable Fab Lab can cost up to £300,000 over 3 years but we are talking to funding organisations and local & national goverment to spread the word about Fab Labs, including 2 events we have hosted in the past 12 months at the House of Lords .

    So please continue to enthuse about Fab Labs and spread the word where possible, but we will be much more successful if we all work together and don’t, as you put it, each try re-inventing the wheel.

    Best regards
    Eddie Kirkby

  • site says:

    Have you considered including a few social bookmarking buttons to these sites. At least for flickr.

  • Appreciate your excellent writeup. This job once were a new entertainment accounts the idea. Seem sophisticated in order to more provided acceptable of your stuff! Even so, exactly how should we stay in touch?

  • Toby Mottram says:

    How do we get involved. I develop new agritechnology and would love to get students expressing their ideas in hardware.

  • Your site is awesome!

  • How do you set up a Fab lab?

  • melissa waters says:

    Hello
    This is amazing! I found out about you from the BBC news story a few days ago. Could you let me know where the other Fab Labs are please. Would be really interested in investigating how/where we could possibly set one up near to us in Norfolk and maybe visit one.
    Many thanks
    Melissa Waters

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