Virtual designs into physical objects/Fab Labs
Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories, or fabulous laboratories) are small scale workshops with modern computer controlled equipment such as...
- , and - to cut sheet materials such as plastic and metal
Amazing video of a 5-axis CNC-mill in action
- computer controlled mills, lathes etc.
- Rapid prototyping machines - 3D layered construction
...giving the ability within one room to create just about anything from engines to electronic devices. The concept was developed at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT.
Around 34 fab labs have been set up around the world so far to give ordinary people in deprived areas access to this type of machinery to help people create machines and devices for themselves and their community.
Commercial versions are now starting to spring too, see http://www.techshop.ws.
- MIT Fab lab website
- Wired article
- CNN article
- FAB The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop – from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication the book by , head of the Center for Bits and Atoms at
RepLabs: Open-source, replicable FabLabs. Very nascent but holds great promise as a concept. Conventional FabLabs use expensive commercial equipment - RepLab wants to reduce the cost by an order of magnitude and at the same time significantly increase functionality. RepLab is to be made entirely of machines whose designs are free and open-source, allowing anyone to build one, thus putting manufacturing of advanced electronics and machinery within anyone's reach. It would follow the RepRap principle of self-replication so that the equipment in a RepLab would be able to create another RepLab, just by downloading the designs from the Internet and inputting them to the machines. In principle: a multi-process, multi-material RepRap.