FabLab Opening in Luxembourg
Luxembourg opens its first FabLab
On 23th April 2013, the first Luxembourgish FabLab was officially opened in Belval, Esch-Alzette. So, what is a FabLab you ask? Well, FabLabs (short for fabrication laboratory) are basically a global network of small to medium-scale workshops equipped with computer controlled tools allowing people to convert their ideas into prototypes or, as some say, to make “nearly anything“. The idea behind the FabLabs is nothing short of genius: instead of each person having to buy a very expensive machine or to lease it for the duration of a project, tinkerers, designers and makers, etc. are being offered access to semi-professional digital fabrication tools in order to “make” their project for only a small fraction of the price of such a machine. The main idea is to promote the spirit of invention by providing easy access to tools for digital fabrication.
In order to qualify as a FabLab, the Lab has to adhere to the FabLab charter and must dispose of a common set of core tools and processes. Normally the minimum threshold of machines you will be able to find in every FabLab are :
- a computer-controller laser cutter
- a precision desktop milling machine
- a numerically-controlled (CNC) milling machine (large)
- a signcutter / vinylcutter
- a 3D printer
Also, there has to be an electronics workspace as well as programming tools and a communications network connecting all the existing FabLabs. Depending on the size of the FabLab, you may also have plasma cutters, water jet cutters, embroidering machines and a lot of other exciting equipment. But, most importantly, you will also have access to a huge network of very smart and dedicated people, which all love to fabricate stuff and/or help you in your project.
Best of all, FabLabs are open to everyone, for as long as they respect the key points of safety (don’t hurt yourself or someone else), operations (maintenance, cleaning and improving the lab) and knowledge (contributing to documentation and instruction). Whatever product designed in a FabLab belongs to the inventor/creator, but the general spirit is to contribute to the general knowledge and therefore make it available for other people.
You understood it, it’s kind of a magical place where tinkerer-spirit, networked diversity and curiosity meet opportunity, cutting-edge technology, ressources and worldwide knowledge. It is the ideal starting ground for absolute beginners, who want a first experience with these exciting tools. If you want to know more about FabLabs, check out the excellent presentation by Neil Gershenfeld, who started the FabLab program at MIT. If you want to check out if there is a FabLab close to you, just have a look on this list.
As we here at 3dprintingforbeginners are trying to play an active part in the Maker community, it was paramount for us to be present at the official opening ceremony of the first FabLab in Luxembourg. Attendance at the ceremony was high, surpassing by far what we had personnally expected and even surpassing what the organisers had planned (some people had to stand, as all the seats were taken). After introduction speeches, visitors were offered to visit the Lab’s facilities, thanks to guided tours organised by and with the Lab’s manager. We have to admit that the FabLab in Belval is quite well equipped with a good laser cutter and a dual-head Replicator 3D printer. The Lab will clearly profit from its cosmopolitan, professionnal and very dedicated team working on the premises. People are incredibly open, making contact is easy and help is freely and copiously offered. So if you live close to this FabLab or any FabLab, we do encourage you to go and have a peek. Until then, check out our photos below from the FabLabLux.
If you want to get in touch with the FabLab in Luxembourg, find out more about their machines, opening times, pricing structure, please do check out their excellent website. Got any questions, remarks or feedback on this article? Just use our comment feature herebelow.