StackExchange curate some excellent Q&A forums. They also have a fairly rigorous open process for deciding which new forums to start. A proposal for a forum dedicated to 3D printers, laser cutters and other sorts of personal manufacturing is currently going through that process. Today they entered the “commitment” phase, asking people who would like to use the forum to commit to asking at least 10 questions in the first 3 months. If you’re interested in this forum appearing - and I suggest you probably are - then please visit this link and make your commitment known. http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/22246/3d-printers-laser-cutters-personal-manufacturing
… asks influential think-tank, the Atlantic Council.
Well, those of us in the business know what we think … and the Atlantic Council agrees, saying that 3D printing:
is a revolutionary technology that could profoundly alter the geopolitical, economic, social, demographic, environmental, and security landscape of the international system
I that all? Read more of the Atlantic Council’s report here.
I just discovered this cool website, encouraging young people into Making and Manufacturing. It’s for the North West of the UK … now we just need the same thing in the South East (we can’t all be bankers down here!)
In the US presidential debates, TV journalist Tom Brokaw asked:
Would our economic, environmental, and energy challenges best be solved by “funding a Manhattan-style project or by funding 100,000 garages across America to encourage the kind of industry and innovation that developed Silicon Valley ?”
Well, we probably don’t have 100,000 garages big enough to do much in the UK … or do we? It’s an interesting side question to the considerations of building up a network of Fab Labs. Check out their progress on their website http://www.100kgarages.com/.
I am fascinated by the notion of Fab Labs:
“A Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory) is a fully kitted fabrication workshop which gives everyone in the community from small children through to entrepreneurs and businesses, the capability to turn their ideas and concepts into reality.”
The aim is to make almost anything!
I am determined to do whatever I can to increase the number of Fab Labs in the UK (shouldn’t be that hard; there is only one, and that’s in Manchester).
I recently visited the ProtoSpace Fab Lab (view this in Google Chrome to get it instantly translated from the Dutch) in Utrecht, in the Netherlands; it’s light, airy, has friendly, helpful people; a place where you’d want to be. A week later I visited the East London Hackerspace; notionally an outfit with a similar aim. Somehow the experience in East London was summed up by the words, written in chalk, on the inside of the toilet seat, “Last cleaned September 4″ (it was October 13). The pictures on the website make it look great; maybe they were taken some time ago!
If you’re interested in such stuff, the Fab Lab Charter fleshes out the idea a little more.
Fab Labs In the UK
I recently spent two weeks in Holland. they have Fab Labs everywhere:
- FabLab Amsterdam The Waag Society
- FabLab Hague
- FabLab Utrecht Protospace
- Fablab Groningen
- Fablab Ghent
- FabLab Arnhem
- FabLab Leuven
- FabLab Truck
- FabLab Amersfoort
- FabLab South Limburg
- FabLab Enschede
Here’s Professor Neil Gerschenfeld at TED.
I’m looking forward to making this site a definitive repository of information about Personal Fabrication.