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What’s a Fab Lab?

A Fab Lab is a digital fabrication workshop that provides the general public with access to manual and digital tools (hammers, saws, 3D printers, laser cutters, etc.) and the opportunity to work on creative and innovative projects. The Fab Lab philosophy is based on boosting creativity through teamwork and promoting a “repair instead of replace” approach. The Museum’s Fab Lab allows users to share ideas with the international Fab Lab network.

Do you have a project or would like to invent or innovate something but don’t know where to start or don’t have the tools you need? We offer the support, space and resources you need to bring your wildest ideas to life. Our team provides support every step of the way, for all kinds of projects: electronics, computer-related, artistic, environmental and robotics. The number of times you visit the Fab Lab depends on the nature and scope of your project or invention. Contact us to find out how to get started.

The Fab Lab philosophy

The Fab Lab concept, an initiative of Neil Gershenfeld from MIT in Boston, is imbued with the DIY philosophy. Fab Labs are spaces for creating, exploring and daring to try almost anything, with a view to helping us learn, become more resilient, and develop and protect our traditional skills. It’s not just the end result that counts, but the road travelled to get there. At the Fab Lab, you leave the regular classroom behind. The Fab Lab is a laboratory where peers work and learn together. Depending on the project, you may work on your own or in a group. In fact, everyone is invited to work on other people’s projects and draw inspiration from them. That said, a Fab Lab isn’t the place to work on top-secret projects, because users are asked to document and share their projects.

A network

The global network of Fab Labs consists of more than 1,500 laboratories open to the public all over the world. That translates into 1,500 workshops where people can develop collaborative projects, advance philosophies and contribute to the growth of their communities. A videoconference system brings members together for various regional events, as well as the annual international Fab Lab Conference.

A place

Yes, a Fab Lab is also a place. It’s a laboratory where you can work on developing your wildest ideas. It’s a place where you have access to traditional and digital tools, as well as a documentation platform. It’s a workshop that you share, contribute to and care for with others. It’s a community resource.

All Fab Labs have the same basic set of tools and resources. That means your project could be reproduced in Yokohama or Kigali!

A community

Because people are more important than tools, you’ll find that when you join a Fab Lab, you also join a community. People go to the Fab Lab to share their knowledge and discuss their projects. DIY doesn’t necessarily mean doing it all alone.

 

The tools

We give you access to a host of tools, which are to be maintained and cared for. Users are responsible for learning how to use the tools and maintain them properly.

See all tools

What about the digital stuff?

Most of our tools are digital, or computer-controlled. That means you’ll be using design and control software. If you’re new to this, don’t worry! We’re here to help. Just remember: be realistic. Like any new activity, it’ll take practice. The software used at the Fab Lab is free, or open source (patent-free or subject to license sharing agreements). So you can install it on your computer and continue to work from home. No need to come in to the Fab Lab.

Consult the Fab Charter

Based on the Charter, we established three moral principles for Fab Lab users.

Users commit to:

  • Participating in the other projects under way at the Fab Lab by sharing your knowledge.
  • Documenting your projects, i.e., your project “recipe.”
  • Sharing your documentation through publication. You can protect your project with a license such as the Creative Commons license, which prohibits commercial use but allows others to reproduce it for personal use.
Consult the Charter

Take a look at the FAQ, section, you may find your answer! If not, send us your question.

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