What is FabLab?
A FabLab (Fabrication Laboratory) can be understood as a physical space with tools and machines for digital fabrication; a community of people that collaborate and share some values and capabilities; and a node in a global network that seeks a balance between being completely independent and local and being completely coordinated and global. Each of these three different natures is important and cannot be taken alone. It is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication for invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship with a unique operation. Unlike traditional academic laboratories, Fab Lab is open to the public and is connected to about 565 local Fab Labs around the world as a global network to share knowledge, design, and process to facilitate peer learning. A hands-on distance education course called “how to make almost everything” organized by the Fab Academy and annual Fab Lab conference contributes to sharing knowledge and building community globally.
A Fab Lab is generally equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”. Flexible manufacturing equipment within a fab lab can include:
- Rapid prototype machine: typically a 3D printer of plastic or plaster parts;
- 3-axis CNC machines: 3 or more axes, computer-controlled subtractive milling or turning machines;
- Printed circuit board milling or etching: two-dimensional, high precision milling to create circuit traces in pre-clad copper boards;
- Microprocessor and digital electronics design, assembly, and test stations; and
- Cutters, for sheet material: laser cutter, plasma cutter, water jet cutter, knife cutter
Fablab at BAU
A community based digital Fab Lab at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) for providing access to the students, teachers, researchers, industries and surrounding community peoples to design, develop and test prototypes of their innovative ideas.
Arranging awareness campaign workshops among BAU community, other academic and research institutions and local industries to motivate them for using the Fab Lab.
Arranging Training programs to develop skilled manpower on handling the software, machines and tools of the Fab Lab.
Providing scope to individual/group/school/club, etc. to use the Lab facilities on pre-schedule basis.
Collaborating with different Industries to work jointly on developing prototypes of Innovative Ideas and also to convince them for producing and marketing commercially viable products.
- To renovate the space to be provided by the university for making it usable for Fab Lab.
- To procure and install digital fabrication machines such as 3D printer, CNC milling machine, vinyl and laser cutters, etc. to provide a technical prototyping platform for innovation and entrepreneurship.
- To arrange multiple awareness campaign workshops for creating awareness and interest about the importance and benefits of using the Fab Lab among the stakeholders.
- To develop skilled internal manpower of the Fab Lab on handling all the equipment and becomes capable of giving training to others.
- To arrange training sessions for the interested stakeholders on using different machines/equipment of the Fab Lab so that a skilled community can be developed.
- To develop partnership with appropriate industries for working in the Fab Lab of BAU through joint research on prototyping of innovative ideas.
- To collaborate with the national and international Fab Labs for exchanging ideas, innovations and participating workshops/competitions.
- To arrange Make-a-Thon competition to encourage young innovators for prototyping their ideas.