A collection of tools and machines does not define a Makerspace. Rather we define it by what it represents: Democratization of design, engineering, fabrication and education.
To define them simply, Makerspaces (hackerspaces, hacklabs or hackspaces) come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors and expertise.
Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone. These spaces can take the form of loosely-organized individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, non-profit corporations, organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries, and more. All are united in the purpose of providing access to equipment, community, and education, and all are unique in exactly how they are arranged to fit the purposes of the community they serve.
- What is a fab lab?
Fab labs are a global network of local labs (They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms), 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 students, staff and community, 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.
I’ve worked extensively in Fab Lab CEPT. The freedom, expertise, help and sharing one comes across in this space is unparalleled. Fab Lab CEPT has enabled a lot of designers, architects, engineers, students, makers and tinkerers bring their ideas to life.