What is a Fab Lab?
Fab Labs are a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access to tools for digital fabrication.
What’s in a Fab Lab?
Fab Labs share an evolving inventory of core capabilities to make (almost) anything, allowing people and projects to be shared.
What does the Fab Lab network provide?
Operational, educational, technical, financial, and logistical assistance beyond what’s available within one lab.
What is the Fab Lab Network?
The Fab Lab Network is an open, creative community of fabricators, artists, scientists, engineers, educators, students, amateurs, and professionals of all ages located in more than 90 countries in approximately 1,750 Fab Labs. From community based labs to advanced research centers, Fab Labs share the goal of democratizing access to the tools for technical invention. This community is simultaneously a manufacturing network, a distributed technical education campus, and a distributed research laboratory working to digitize fabrication, inventing the next generation of manufacturing and personal fabrication. Below you will find an overview of Fab Labs, information on the global network, and all of the resources needed to start a lab in your local community!
Who can use a Fab Lab?
Fab Labs are available as a community resource, offering open access for individuals as well as scheduled access for programs.
What are your responsibilities?
Safety: Not hurting people or machines.
Operations: Assisting with cleaning, maintaining, and improving the lab.
Knowledge: Contributing to documentation and instruction.
Who owns Fab Lab inventions?
Designs and processes developed in Fab Labs can be protected and sold in whatever way an inventor chooses, but should remain available for individuals to use and learn from.
How can businesses use a Fab Lab?
Commercial activities can be prototyped and incubated in a Fab Lab, but they must not conflict with other uses. They should grow beyond rather than within the lab, and they are expected to benefit the inventors, labs, and networks that contribute to their success.
What is the Fab Lab mission?
The Fab Lab mission is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent. The Lab facilitates the use of technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world.
What is the mission of the Fab Foundation?
The mission of the Fab Foundation is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent, using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything. In short, we create opportunity.
What is the purpose of a Fab Lab?
A Fab Lab, or digital fabrication laboratory, is a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent: a place for learning and innovation. Fab Labs provide access to the environment, the skills, the materials and the advanced technology to allow anyone anywhere to make (almost) anything.
How many Fab Labs are there in the world?
There are more than 1,750 Fab Labs all over the globe! Because all Fab Labs share common tools and processes, the program is building a global network or a distributed laboratory for research and invention.
What is a fab project?
A Fab Lab is typically 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”. A project is anything that can be designed, prototyped, tested, and iterated using the equipment, technology and resources of the Fab Lab.
How do you start a Fab Lab?
The first step is to look for the local resources and people that are necessary for developing the lab:
- Look for the right people
- Design activities, services and features
- Design the business model
- Prepare the space
- Choose, buy and set up machines
- Open the space
- Further develop the space and machines
I want to apply to the Fab Academy. What should I do?
To apply for the Fab Academy course you must complete the online application form. You will find it here. After you send your application, the instructor of the Node you selected will contact you to do an interview (in-person or via skype). In the following weeks, the Coordination team will be in touch to let you know the results of the selection process.
What are the admissions requirements? Do I need a minimum education qualification?
Although there is no specific qualification required, it is recommended that you have general knowledge of 2D and 3D design, electronic programming, and web design and development. We have many Tutorials available for you to familiarize yourself with these. If you have no experience in these areas, the course should be considered a full-time dedication program. If you rate your proficiency between High and Expert, you can consider the program to be part-time.
Once I have applied, does it mean I’m a student of the program?
After you send your application, the instructor of the Node you selected will contact you to do an interview (in-person or via skype). In the following weeks, the Coordination team will be in touch to let you know the results of the selection process.
If you have received an acceptance letter and payment instructions, this means you have been accepted to the program. To confirm your place, you need to pay the deposit.
Find more information here.
Should I contact the Fab Lab I chose to follow the program?
Not necessarily. During the online application process, you will be asked to select a Fab Lab (Node) in which to follow the program. After your submission, the chosen Fab Lab will contact you to do an interview (in-person or via skype). If they don’t reach you, or you have a specific request, you can contact them directly. See the contact list here.
Can I apply for only one certificate?
You will need to contact your local Fab Lab to find out more about individual assignments.
Is the application fee refundable?
Once students receive their acceptance letter, a down payment of 2000 USD/€ must be made to secure the place. The remainder of the tuition fees can be paid in one or two installments.
The 2000 USD or € confirmation fee is non-refundable. The remainder of the tuition fees may be refunded in accordance with our Payment Policies.
Is it a University Master or Post degree? Does it have University credits?
The Fab Academy is a Digital Fabrication Program directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms, and based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything. There is no global accreditation for these skills. Instead, each student builds a portfolio that documents their mastery of these skills individually, and their integration. The Fab Diploma is awarded by the Fab Academy. It has no institutional connection with MIT (and none should be claimed), but a number of the participating sites offer it overlaid with their local accreditation. It recognizes readiness to work in, and establish, a Fab Lab. The Fab Diploma has led to students obtaining employment, investment, admission, and recognition.
In recent years, numerous institutions have started accrediting the skills developed in the Fab Academy course. Some of these institutions are listed here.
Can I take the course via distance-learning mode?
Studying remotely, with no local instructor, is not a viable option. Beyond the technical skills, Fab Academy has a unique structure and dynamics that makes it particularly challenging to follow alone and from a distance – sooner or later, students find it hard to keep up.
How much are the course fees?
Fab Academy tuition fees are based on the combination of local costs (the costs needed to run the course in the local Node that hosts the program) and central costs (infrastructural costs and services provided by the Fab Academy Central Coordination & Administration). Central costs are fixed and local costs are variable. Please check the precise fee for each Node here.
How can I pay my fees?
Payments are made through a secure payment platform: FLYWIRE. You will receive payment instructions when you get accepted to the program.
What funding or scholarships are available?
Find information about the Fab Academy Scholarship Program here.
What is the workload for the course?
Between 20 and 35 hours a week of dedication, depending on your technical background.
In which language is the Fab Academy delivered?
Do I need TOEFL / GRE to apply?
Although there are no TOEFL / GRE requirements, we do expect our students to have a very good level of English, both speaking and writing. It is the language in which you will be evaluated.
My city is not listed as a Fab Academy Node / My city does not have a Fab Lab.
If your city is not listed in the online application form this may be because your local Fab Lab is not offering the Fab Academy this year, or because it does not yet fulfill all the requirements for becoming an active Fab Academy Node.
You can find the active Nodes List here.
Can I take the Fab Academy in a city other than my own?
Yes, you can take the Fab Academy in any of the listed active Fab Academy Nodes.
But bear in mind that the Fab Academy fees only cover the education and not the expenses of travelling and living abroad.
I have a specific theme/project I’d like to carry out during the courses.
For the Project Development assignment, you must document a final project that integrates the range of units covered. The final project topic is chosen by you.
If I don’t finish my studies in the natural term of the course (5 months), can I follow the program next year and still graduate?
To graduate, you need to achieve 3 objectives:
- Complete (make and document) all the certificates.
- Present your Final Project to your peers. There are two opportunities for this:
- End of June
- Mid-January (when the new cycle starts)
- Pass the Global Evaluation. Once you are ready, contact Coordination and we’ll walk you through the procedure. Find more on Evaluation Process here.
If you are not able to finish in the natural course of the program (January to July) or in the rest of the cycle (until December), you can finish in your own time and tell us when you are ready. Bear in mind that this may result in added costs.