fablab

Book Excerpt: FabLab—Of Machines, Makers and Inventors

Book Excerpt: FabLab—Of Machines, Makers and Inventors

The following excerpt is taken from Paulo Blikstein’s essay, “Digital Fabrication and ‘Making’ in Education: The Democratization of Invention.” The essay comes from the recently published FabLab: Of Machines, Makers, and Inventors edited bu Julia Walter-Herrmann and Corine Buching. Blikstein’s project concerns the role of fablabs in the future of engineering eduction. It is one of four “vignettes” from Blikstein’s own experiences in conducting digital fabrication workshops with secondary school students around the world.

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Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab?

Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab?

The past decade has seen the sudden, dramatic appearance of community spaces offering public, shared access to high-end manufacturing equipment. These spaces are interchangeably referred to as hackerspaces, makerspaces, TechShops, and FabLabs. This can lead the intended audience to become incredibly confused as to why there might be so many names for a single concept. I’d like to take some time to untangle the mess, explain the concepts behind each title, and talk about why I now make significant distinctions between all of these types of spaces.

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Visiting Fab Lab Manchester

Visiting Fab Lab Manchester

On a recent visit to Manchester to attend the Future Everything summit, I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit the UK’s first fab lab, housed in a striking, slab-like building in the waterside district of one of Britain’s great industrial cities. I spoke to Eddie Kirkby (of the Manufacturing Institute) and Haydn Insley (fab lab manager) to find out how the fab lab movement is spreading into the UK.

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Fab Lab Boombox

Fab Lab Boombox

MIT student Matthew Keeter designed and built this sweet little portable music player for his final project in Neil Gershenfeld’s famous How to Make (almost) Anything class. The case, a union of three octagonal prisms, is laser-cut from 5.2mm plywood, and features a five-“button” capacitive touch-sensing control panel. The music is stored on an SD card, loaded in the back of the player. The PCB is two-sided, and was cut with a robot PCB mill. All source files are provided.

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AS220 Labs grand opening: Friday Jan 7th in Providence RI

AS220 Labs grand opening: Friday Jan 7th in Providence RI

I am very excited to announce that the labs is officially moved into the mercantile block [pictured above] and is fully functional. We are going to be hosting our first ever Annual Labs Social, which will serve to be our grand opening and first public event in the new space.

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LasercutChristmas classroom project in development

LasercutChristmas classroom project in development

The original idea came from the work of several of my students in the Fashioning Tech class. Sam and Brooke were cutting images that they found online, and saw that the heavy black lines made image contours, which cut as a continuous line. What they saw as a horrible mistake, I thought looked really neat, and suggested they carefully glue the image outline to a backing sheet. They were hand cutting the background sheet, but it looks much more polished if they use the laser to cut the outline shape on the laser

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