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What's Fab Lab?

FabLab is a network of experimental citizen workshops equipped with a variety of digital and analog machine tools. The word "Fab" was coined from the words "Fabrication" and "Fabulous," with the aim of expanding the possibilities of individual freedom in making things and fostering a culture in which "people make what they use by themselves.

What qualifies as a FabLab?

The following four qualities are requirements listed altogether create and enabling environments for the use of the FabLab name.

1. Public access to the Fab Lab is essential

FabLab is working to democratize manufacturing by opening up machine tools for personal creation and invention. As such, it is required to be open to the public at least once a week, either for free or in exchange for money.

2. Fab Labs support and subscribe to the Fab Charter

Fab Charter settled a basic idea and the guidelines that FabLab of the world shared on administration. Facilities that call themselves Fab Labs are required to make this content known to their users by posting it on their websites and in visible locations throughout their facilities.

3. Fab Labs have to share a common set of tools and processes

All FabLabs share the same equipment so that they can share, duplicate, and improve their manufacturing know-how and design data. By combining a variety of digital and analog machine tools and hand tools, we aim to create an environment where (almost) anything can be made (except for things that can hurt people). Therefore, a laser cutter and a 3D printer are not enough to be a fab lab, and various hand tools and electronic tools other than digital devices are also essential.

3-1.Recommended FabLab Equipment

  • A laser cutter
  • A large wood routerfor building furniture and housing
  • A high-resolution CNC milling machine that makes circuit boards, precision parts, and molds and casting
  • Vinul cutter
  • 3D printer
  • A suite of electronic components and programming tools for low-cost
  • Hand tools

4.Fab Labs must participate in the larger, global Fab Lab network

They are required to participate and openly share their activities with the international network of FabLabs through the annual "World FabLab Conference," cross-border workshops and other collaborative projects, and videoconferencing systems. By sharing and collaborating on issues related to manufacturing know-how, lab operations, etc., the network creates value that cannot be obtained by individual labs on their own. This network is one of the important characteristics of a FabLab, and an institution that operates independently without any contact with other labs cannot be considered a FabLab.

A worldwide network of Fab Labs

Global FabLab Map:

Launched in 2002, the idea of the FabLab rapidly spread around the world after MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Professor Neil Garfeld introduced the FabLab in his book, "The Manufacturing Revolution: The Dawn of Personal Fabrication". As of April 2011, there are at least 50 FabLabs in more than 20 countries around the world. FabLabs have spread not only to developed countries in Europe and the United States, but also to developing countries such as Kenya and Afghanistan. In Japan, "FabLab Kamakura" and "FabLab Tsukuba" opened in 2011. Universities and other educational and research institutions, local community centers, general cultural facilities, NPO/NGOs, and individuals operate each FabLab in their own unique way.

Fab Lab List of the World

Collaboration in manufacturing across borders FabLabs around the world collaborate in a variety of ways through the network, sharing information via Fab Wiki and other means, and are connected by videoconferencing systems, keeping them in sync 24 hours a day.