Virtual designs into physical objects/Fab Labs

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Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories, or fabulous laboratories) are small scale workshops with modern computer controlled equipment such as... the ability within one room to create just about anything from engines to electronic devices. The concept was developed at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT.

Around 34 fab labs have been set up around the world so far to give ordinary people in deprived areas access to this type of machinery to help people create machines and devices for themselves and their community.

A mobile FabLab:
Fablab trailer in wyoming.jpg

Commercial versions are now starting to spring too, see




RepLabs: Open-source, replicable FabLabs. Very nascent but holds great promise as a concept. Conventional FabLabs use expensive commercial equipment - RepLab wants to reduce the cost by an order of magnitude and at the same time significantly increase functionality. RepLab is to be made entirely of machines whose designs are free and open-source, allowing anyone to build one, thus putting manufacturing of advanced electronics and machinery within anyone's reach. It would follow the RepRap principle of self-replication so that the equipment in a RepLab would be able to create another RepLab, just by downloading the designs from the Internet and inputting them to the machines. In principle: a multi-process, multi-material RepRap.