I have made a map of every Fab Lab, Makerspace, Hackerspace and other similar space where you can go and make things, in the UK. If you click on the markers you will get information about that space. If your space isn’t there, scroll right in (it may be hidden under another marker).
If it’s still not there, let me know and I’ll add it. Click the picture of the map, below, to go to the map proper (in the days of good old Google maps, before it got all posh, I knew how to embed my own maps, but I haven’t yet sussed it in the latest version !)
A traditional Fab Lab frequently has the air of an engineering shop; the Fab Cafe seems to have a more artistically creative feel. I imagine that a Fab Cafe and a Fab Lab could co-exist quite happily in the same town, with artists becoming more interested in making their art interactive … or just active.
Here are just a few of the things people have made there:
You can see their gallery by clicking on any of the above pictures, or by clicking this link. To really get blown away by all the (very creative) stuff that they have done, click the big picture below, and then go exploring!
Here’s what they say about themselves (it’s easier to read here!)
What is FabCafe?
“FAB” is the “craftsmanship revolution” movement spreading throughout the world. The letters “FAB” contain the meaning of both “FABrication (craftsmanship)”, unconfined by mass production and market theory, and “FABulous (pleasant, wonderful)” within them, and this network has already expanded to over 50 countries in over 250 places throughout the world (as of April, 2013). FabCafe was created in Tokyo’s hot city, Shibuya, as a place to expand the “FAB” spirit in a fun, delicious, easy to understand, and open way. In this café, where people gather, meet, and connect, there are 3D printers and other craftsmanship devices representative of the times. There is the meeting of talent and creative collaboration that is only born from open places. We believe that the artists born from these places, artists that exceed imagination, will change the craftsmanship of the next generation. This uniqueness has begun attracting supporters from across oceans, and the second and third FabCafe’s are planned for Taiwan, in May, 2013, and Europe respectively. FabCafe is different from FabLab activities.
FabCafe, started in 2002, is a new model of activity that was born through inspiration from FabLab’s worldwide activities. Although they both share the large vision to create the future of craftsmanship, FabCafe’s organizational structure, its main bodies, business model, and profit structure are all independent. The father of the FAB movement, Professor Neil Gershenfeld of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and his ideas are both things that we continue to respect. However, FabCafe’s activities, while coordinating effectively with FabLab, aim to create a vision of the future in a way different from FabLab’s. As it maintains its entry roles, including the ideas of “everyday creator visits” and “anyone can casually participate”, FabCafe accomplishes its aims by creating a new marketplace based on products born actively within it. This marketplace develops new talent, and accelerates the flow of new craftsmanship. Fab café carries out activities as a device to create this cycle.
What is FabCafe.com?
Our site, FabCafe.com, functions as a hub for information unfolding to the world from FabCafe base areas, as well as a shared marketplace which brings together real and data products. The data and products of creators from various countries are uploaded onto this site and shared with people across the world. In addition, the creators of the world can connect here, and give birth to new collaboration products. We provide a place for a new kind of craftsmanship that cannot be born from the existing production industry, connecting people and creativity.
The first Fab Cafe is in Tokyo: will there be one near you any time soon?
I recently sent an e-mail to all the actual or potential UK Fab Lab groups I could find. This is what it said:
I am part of a group that is interested in getting as many Fab Labs going in the UK as possible. We are just starting out: you can read a little about us at http://www.FabLabsUK.co.uk and http://www.meetup.com/
So far we have initial interest in Kent, Hampshire and Dorset. We are keen to see how those of us interested in Fab Labs can capitalize on co-operation; particularly in not re-inventing wheels when it comes to, for instance,
- Designing operating procedures,
- Building equipment using open-source designs
- Capitalizing on each others experience in sourcing funding.
I am attempting to contact any groups in the UK who either are Fab Labs, or who have some intention of becoming Fab Labs.
Would you be interested in a joint meeting in the New Year, to see how we can cooperate in making a UK network of Fab Labs a reality?
So far I know about:
- makespace Cambridge http://makespace.org/
- Manchester Fab Lab http://www.fablabmanchester.
- FabLab Brighton: http://fablabbrighton.org/
- MaidSafe in Troon, Scotland: http://www.maidsafefoundation.
There is a http://www.fablabs.org.uk/ website, that seems to have been born in Sheffield; but also seems to have had no activity int he last two years, as far as I can see.
If you know of any others, I’d be grateful if you could let me know, and/or pass this on.
The reason for publishing this here is that there are many groups that seem shy of publishing contact information: I’m hoping that this may reach them!
… any chance ours will catch up?
Shanghai Government Technology committee has issued a call for a proposal to build 100 community hackerspaces with government funding for equipment. The communities in resident area are going to manage the spaces and pay for the materials. Each space is required to be at least 100 square meters, more than 200 days/year open, equipped with wood lathes, metal lathes, saws and drill grinding combined machine, milling machine and other tools.
I’m visiting family in Florida over Xmas, and thought I’d fit in some Fab Lab visits to see how they do it there. The Faulhaber Fab Lab in GWiz, in Sarasota is to drool over!
And if you ever wanted to tell someone what a Fab Lab is, and what you can do there, then this presentation is, I believe, a winner:
The Dutch really are brilliant at setting up Fab Labs. I know I bang on about this, but with a population only a quarter of the UK’s, they have 11 Fab Labs, and rising.
Amersfoort managed to get their Fab Lap up and running in SEVEN DAYS, and for an expenditure of €5000.
And they have document the process in a PDF that you can view here, “The Grassroots Fab Lab Instructable”.
And they introduced me to this wonderful “Future Manufacturing” video!
The shiny, all-singing example is in Manchester. http://www.fablabmanchester.org/ has been going for a while, and I’m promising myself a visit to see them, just as soon as I can get away. It feels slightly odd that I have visited Fab Lab Utrecht, but not Manchester! They actually had Neil Gerschenfeld come over to bless their efforts; well done them. (Envoius? Moi?)
They are the only UK Fab Lab actually up and running.
Next in line, I think, is when the Cambridge Makerspace becomes a Fab Lab, which it looks like they are on track to do. They set up a Meetup Group, which currently has 289 members, which must give them a fair amount of momentum!
They also (very kindly) put an excellent presentation on line, to give us all some extra ideas when setting up Fab Labs. You can see it here.
Lastly, in my research, comes Brighton. Their website (http://fablabbrighton.org/) doesn’t say a lot(!), but there is an interesting leaflet online, about a meeting they had last summer. I’m very envious that they have Trevor Baylis on board, and it can’t hurt them that their local MP just happens to be Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party!