Category Archives: Fab Labs

Featured Fab Lab: FabCafe, 3D Printing and Coffee in Tokyo

Featured Fab Lab: FabCafe Tokyo

Featured Fab Lab: FabCafe Tokyo

FabCafe is a space that conveys the FAB spirit in a fun, delicious and easy to understand way. In the center of Shibuya, an area overflowing with youthful energy, FabCafe provides a space where people can enjoy making things in an exciting environment furnished with a variety of digital fabrication tools, including a laser cutter and 3D printers.

More approachable than a Makerspace, FabCafe allows customers to rent the high tech equipment by the half-hour, and enjoy a coffee and snack while waiting for something to be fabricated.

Chiaki Hayashi and Mitsu Suwa opened this FabCafe in Tokyo, Japan last year, and there are plans to expand to Taipei and Barcelona this year. Tim Wong is partnering with Hayashi and Suwa to launch FabCafe in Taipei this coming May. As for the planning for FabCafe Barcelona, it is still in a very early stage and the effort is led by one of Tim’s friends locally in Barcelona.

Here is one of incredible projects that have come out of FabCafe: a 360 Panorama Book.

Featured Fab Lab: FabCafe Tokyo

Below is a video of customers participating in a workshop at the FabCafe’s CUBE area, where they can use 3D scanners and 3D design software.


Read more from our series of Featured Fab Labs.

Note: Article was updated to provide proper credit to Chiaki Hayashi and Mitsu Suwa for their founding of FabCafe Tokyo.

Fab Lab of the Week: Westport, CT Library’s MakerSpace 3D Printing

Westport Library MakerSpace 3D Printing

This week’s featured Fab Lab is the Westport, CT library, which provides public access to two 3D printers. The library’s MakerSpace was featured in The Republic, a Columbus, Indiana publication.

The hottest attraction at the Westport Library is not a book or collection of DVDs, but rather two manufacturing units.

At the heart of the spacious library, an area called MakerSpace has been carved out to encourage creativity and the spirit of invention. Inside the space are two MakerBot Replicator machines — 3D printers, as they are more commonly known.

Librarians have observed an increase in vistors interested in 3D printing.

It was after a hugely successful Maker Faire last April that librarians started thinking about getting the 3D printer and creating a space just for makers, hence MakerSpace.

Reference librarian Margie Freilich-Den said the library helps its patrons with job searches, and the Maker Faire was just one step to encourage residents to “get back to our manufacturing roots” and encourage people with ideas to try them out. Maker Faire is sponsored by Maker magazine and is its own brand promoting innovation, invention and doing things yourself.

“It’s another way to use the library,” said Marcia Logan, the library’s communications coordinator.

Since the first 3D printer started operating in July, dozens of visitors have come in to see it, use it and learn.

One man brought in his patented design for a device that plugs into a car cell phone charger and locks the phone so it cannot be used to text or talk while driving. Another man brought his own patented design for a medical device, a type of catheter.

But most either try to see what it can do by choosing an item from a computer program of 3D designs called Thingiverse, or print something they need, like cases for iPhones, staff members said.

The Westport Library will be sponsoring a mini MakerFaire in April.

Fab Lab of the Week: Barcelona Boot Camp 2012

Fab Lab Boot Camp Barcelona 3D Printing

This week’s featured Fab Lab is the Digital Fabrication Boot Camp in Barcelona, a program designed to immerse students in hands-on experience to learn, among other technologies, 3D printing.

The newly created Master in Interaction is hosting 8 students from different backgrounds, who will lead a new line of research at IAAC and Fab Lab Barcelona. All IAAC students have access to the Fab Lab machines and equipment, to produce their projects and to learn and interact with the Fab Lab spirit and team. In this sense, the digital fabrication BootCamp for the MAI students has been an intensive experience to introduce them to digital fabrication techniques, through the organization of 3 exercises:

  • Making things move: using the laser cutting machine to design, prototype and fabricate mechanisms which generate or translate movement.
  • Glowing molds: the idea of this exercise was to design and produce molds in polyurethane foam which have been casted with transparent resins, in which lightning features should be embedded.
  • Dynamic scanning and printing: introduction to different 3d scanning methods to 3D print a customized object.

Here is a video from the boot camp posted earlier this week.


More details available at Fab Lab Barcelona.

Fab Lab of the Week: – Fab Lab Portland at U of Oregon

Fab Lab Portland University of Oregon 3D Printing

This week’s featured Fab Lab is the Fab Lab Portland at the University of Oregon.

From the fab lab’s website:

The primary function of the lab is to support students and faculty members conducting research in Portland. Access is offered to patrons that are actively enrolled or teaching in the current term. The culture of the lab supports an open atmosphere of learning. Patrons are responsible for safely operating all equipment and tools themselves, and must first complete a basic safety orientation and sign a release waiver before working in the woodshop or spary booth. Patrons may also use equipment in the fabrication lab if they have received technical training and been approved to operate the machines. Workshops and courses are offered each term to provide patrons with opportunities to improve their protoyping skills and fabrication techniques.

Fab Lab Portland has 3D printers and other equipment for use.

The facility supports two laser cutters, a 3D printer, a CNC milling machine, and a CNC router. Prices and specifications for equipment are as follows:

Laser Cutters: Universal ILS 9.150D
100 watts
Universal VLS 4.60
50 watts
3D Printer: Dimension 1200ES SST
ABS plastic (natural)
10”x10”x12” max dimensions
CNC Milling Machine: Roland MDX-540
14”x14”x5” (9”x6”d.) travel dimensions
*cost varies with material
CNC Router: ShopBot BT48
48”x96”x5” travel dimensions
*cost varies with material
University of Oregon photo by Erik R. Bishoff used under Creative Commons license.

Fab Lab of the Week: MidSouth Makers Opens 3D Printing Workshop

MidSouth Makers 3D Printing

This week’s featured Fab Lab is MidSouth Makers in Memphis, Tennessee.

Here is the mission of MidSouth Makers from their website:

Midsouth Makers aims to sustain the first ever hackerspace within the greater Memphis area.  The goal of this hackerspace is bring in builders, tinkers, artists, makers, and doers together under one roof to form a makerspace.  By bringing together these people a common place can be established to meet and discuss ideas, explore various technical endeavors, and communicate these thoughts with individuals from various backgrounds.  Ultimately we seek to further our knowledge as individuals and as a group by learning what we can from each other.

MidSouth Makers was written up in local publication The Commercial Appeal:

Several members of MidSouth Makers have been building their own 3D printers in the last year. Typically, 3D printing technology, which has been around about 10 years, has been the toy of large-scale manufacturers, whose equipment costs in the tens of thousands. MidSouth Makers’ President Daniel Hess said there’s really no reason the little guy can’t get in on the action.

Hess spent about $800 on parts for his printer and bought $100 worth of plastic. However, the printer may use as little as 50 cents’ worth of plastic on each project.

Most of the printers in MidSouth Makers like it because it’s fun and they can raise some funds for their group by doing 3D Printing Build-Off events in other cities.

The group of 33 members was founded in January 2010. Members pay monthly dues to have 24/7 access to a 1,500-square-foot shop, all of the tools inside it, and the know-how of other members.

Many, like Hess, used to get in trouble with their spouses for tearing apart equipment in their living rooms. Some makers have more entrepreneurial hopes.

Maker photo by midsouthmakers used Creative Commons license.