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Fab Lab @ EOH Today!

Just a reminder that the Fab Lab will have a booth out at Engineering Open House today, just outside of the Mechanical Engineering Lab on the Bardeen Quad. We'll be staffing it from 9a-3p both Friday and Saturday. The main lab will also be open on Saturday from 9a-2p for general visitors. Feel free to stop by and/or help help us staff the table! Thanks!

CU Fab Lab Presents at Fab8nz

I had the pleasure of presenting twice this past week at the Fab8nz conference via video conference. Among many things we discussed research in Fab Labs related to literacy, learning and empowerment as well as the Powers of 10 concept and how we've gone about doing mini FabLab deployments. If you're interested the paper and one of the presentations is available for download below!

In the Community

To better serve and invest in our local community the Fab Lab has partnered with several anchor institutions to help introduce people (especially kids) to the process of making. We are helping them to set up their own maker spaces as well as coordinating a variety of collaborations, including workshops, outreach events and consultation. We also continue to retain connections to the global and national Fab Lab community.

"Friends" Committee Notes, 12/16/2010

The CUCFL "Friends" held the first general meeting on Dec. 16, 2010.

The next meeting will be 20 Jan 2011 (tentative).

Please find attached notes from the Dec. meeting.

-- REMcG, acting chair

Full post and discussion here:

New Facebook Page for the Champaign-Urbana Fab Lab

We've created a new Facebook Page for the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab:
In addition to actually using the page, links to posts on the Fab Lab website are automatically posted to this page's wall.

We've also added a "Share" button to our website that will allow website users to easily link to content using dozens of social networking services.

Lastly, since I post on cucfablab.org far more often than I post on Facebook, I've set up my Facebook account to automatically share items that I post in "Luke Scharf's Blog".  If anyone wants to see how to set this up, let me know and I'll either show you how to do it or post a writeup.

Do all Fab Labs have exactly the same equipment?

Q: Do all Fab Labs have exactly the same equipment?

A: All Fab Labs use the same basic equipment although most Fab Labs may not have things such as the 3D printer and ShopBot, not all labs will have the space or funding for the larger or more expensive equipment.

How much space does the CUCFL occupy?

Q: How much space does the CUCFL occupy?

Who uses the CUCFL?

Q: Who uses the CUCFL?

A: Our Fab Lab is open to the general public and we literally have folks from 8 to 80 years old using the lab.  It also helps that we have a diverse group of patrons and volunteers who work with the Fab Lab.

We also reach alternative parts of the community through mini lab sites at The Urbana Free Library (teen open lab) and Tap In Leadership Academy, as well as through specific events and workshops held off-site.

Participants on-campus are roughly 50% students and 50% community members, including a mixture of artists, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists. Families are welcome though generally kids under 10 will not be able to get much out of a visit.

What does it cost to operate the CUCFL?

Q: What does it cost to operate the CUCFL?

A: Our Fab Lab is a combination of UIUC staff and volunteer-run, which means our budget is unusual. As a component of the public engagement arm of the University of Illinois we run under a kind of non-profit model, operating mainly on grants, gifts, funds from consulting and earnings from classes, workshops and materials sales. There are no membership fees of any kind, though specific site labs may require other criteria (teens only at the library, Tap In Academy scholars in the school system, etc...). For a specific estimate on our current operational costs come in to visit us and ask.

Is the CUCFL affiliated with a university?

Q: Is the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab affiliated with a university?

What does it take in terms of IT equipment and internet bandwidth to establish a free standing Fab Lab?

Q: What does it take in terms of IT equipment and internet bandwidth to establish a free standing Fab Lab?

A: We currently employ the following IT solutions:

How to start a Fab Lab!

Below are answers to some common and/or interesting questions that have come up when talking to people who are starting new Fab Labs.

Fab Lab Hours Extended for Winter 2010/2011

We are expanding the hours of the Fab Lab on Mondays and Thursdays, on a trial basis.  The Fab Lab open session hours are now as follows:

  • Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6 pm
  • Monday evening from 4 to 9 pm
  • Thursday evening from 4 to 9 pm
Construction 01 - Fab Lab Front Door

Daily Illini: Local Fab Lab gives tools to innovation to Champaign-Urbana

From the article:

Community members came together Thursday afternoon for the grand opening of the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab, which aims to inspire innovative thinking in the general population.

The lab, which has been open to the public since April, is part of a global network of Fab Labs, which give community members the opportunity to have access to equipment and materials to design and build almost anything they can imagine or want.

The local Fab Lab is a joint effort by the University, Parkland College, the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club and several other community organizations.

Neil Gershenfeld, director of The Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed the first Fab Lab at MIT.

In conjunction with the opening event, Gershenfeld spoke about the role of Fab Labs in empowering ordinary people to create technology.

Read more: Local Fab Lab gives tools to innovation to Champaign-Urbana

The News-Gazette: 'Fab Lab' drawing variety of users

From the article:

URBANA – Call it a community workshop.

Metalworker Dean Rose came to create templates for making bells. University of Illinois freshmen came to put together a 3-D printer. A young mother came to design items for small kids. And youngsters from the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club came to assemble tin-can robots.

All those projects and more were done at the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab, which opened earlier this year at 1301 S. Goodwin Ave., U – in a building just south of the UI's College of ACES Library.

Read more:  'Fab Lab' drawing variety of users

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