FabLab UK


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Fab Lab UK - blue sky thinking!

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FabLab UK

  1. 1. Dr Julie Madigan Chief Executive of The Manufacturing Institute
  2. 2. What is a Fab Lab? • The Fab Lab Initiative is an Educational Outreach Project from MIT. • A Fab Lab is a fully Kitted Fabrication Workshop capable of supporting single user production of ideas, from inception through to prototyping. • The Fab Lab allows for innovative manufacturing and creation in underdeveloped and financially challenged areas. • The Fab Lab transforms people from Consumers to Producers. • Fab Labs have been opened world-wide, and further partnerships with developing countries are being explored. • Objective: To empower individuals, rather than institutions, to be able to make almost anything.
  3. 3. What is a Fab Lab?
  4. 4. A Global Community • • • • International community linked through a common purpose Fab Lab Charter Open Innovation Standardised equipment
  5. 5. What’s in a Fab Lab ‘a factory in a box’ • A collection of off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, wrapped in open source software and programs written by MIT. • Currently the labs include a NC Mill, Vinyl Cutter, Laser Cutter, Plasma Cutter/Wood Router, Electronic components and tools & CAD/CAM Software developed by MIT. CAD/CAM Design & Programming Tools Molding & Casting 3D Printing & Scanning Machines Multi Purpose Waterjet / Laser Cutters, Lathes Circuits & Microcontrollers Basic Machines Minimill, Vinyl Cutter
  6. 6. What Can it Make? • Almost anything, limited only by your imagination. • Generally the Fab Labs create 2D parts which are assembled into 3D objects. The Lab machines are classified as Subtractive i.e. they “Remove” Material. 2D Parts Plan & Design 3D Assembly Fabrication Output
  7. 7. Who uses Fab Labs? • Individuals who wish to see their ideas or concepts become a reality or simply just make things they’d like to make • Inventors and entrepreneurs who wish to test or market their ideas with tangible, working prototypes • Community groups designing and making products to help in their community • Start-up companies wishing to develop their products • Micro engineering or manufacturing businesses • Teachers and students working on design competitions or educational workshops
  8. 8. What can it do? • The first UK Fab Lab opened in Manchester 3 years ago. • Fab Lab Manchester has interacted with over 4,000 children, 20 community groups and many schools. • There are over 1,500 regular Fab Lab Manchester users, several of whom have set up their own successful companies based around networks, products and techniques developed in the Lab. • The model has now been replicated successfully with 7 Labs open throughout the UK and Ireland with support from The Manufacturing Institute. • Fab Lab Ellesmere Port was officially opened by Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable on 31 October and has had over 300 individual users since September 2013.
  9. 9. More things you can make Musical instrument s Bikes Furniture & household Confectionary Toys & game s Gizmos & gadgets Invention s Clothes & bags Art & jeweller y
  10. 10. Community Lab Example Fab Labs come in any shape and size, they can be tailored to suit the specific location. Generally the more space available the better as it allows for greater access and a safer working environment, however this is generally traded against Rent & Operating costs where those are considerations. The Lab shown is the South End Technical Center, a Community Based Lab in downtown Boston. It is approx 600 Sq Ft and is used by approx 50 people per day.
  11. 11. Equipment List Machines Software Laser cutter/engraver CAD software Vinyl Cutter CAM software 3D milling machines 3D scanners CNC router Sewing and embroidery machines Soldering irons, drills, general tools
  12. 12. Benefits • Empowerment of individuals through the capability to produce their own products • Problem solving to support key agenda items such as transport (TIF), environmental technologies, sport, etc • Development of technological and creative skills and education • Creation of new SMEs & new jobs • Stimulation of the local economy through partnering with local suppliers and manufacturers • Innovation!!