Fab labs are spaces that offer democratic access to high tech machines that were normally not reachable and understandable by normal people. Nowadays these machines are really easy to understand and the software for 2D and 3D design has become free and easier to use, meaning that with minimal time and training anyone can start modelling.
We have seen a revolution in the digital world: the music industry, business, entertaining, social media… the key of that revolution was the zero/low cost for producing digital content. On the other hand, in the physical world we have the problem that to produce things there is a cost, but with technology like this you can bring those costs down. Now these machines have the potential of taking the digital things and bring them into the physical world.
Each Fab lab is part of a decentralised network of independent workshops worldwide. What connects these Fab labs is that they share machines, tools, knowledge and they support each other. This means open, accessible sharing of what has been learnt and made to help and encourage others.
Fab labs are based in some fundamental ideas: open source freeware software and DIY (do-it-yourself). These are key words to empower people in order that they are able to repair and build stuff so they are not dependant of consumerism and centralised industry.
Anyone can come to the lab and learn about the machines, design, methods, tools and platform. The lab allows the learner to immediately apply their new knowledge and develop skills by making something in 2D or 3D.
Education as a system tends to create barriers and exclude people. With these learning spaces different persons from different cultures and perspectives have access to fabrication tools. There is no evaluation system so free experimentation is allowed, there are no worries about grades. Fab labs are spaces where everybody can bring his/her ideas to life.
We discuss all these ideas and more with Stefan Strappler and Heinrich Pan, amazing guys and co-founders of Fablab Spielraum Innsbruck (Austria).