P. Troxler, | Part of a book | Publication date: 30 June 2016
Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) are publicly accessible workshops offering digital manufacturing technology and electronics tools to anyone. Fab Labs continue a tradition of places for do-it-yourself (DIY) with technology for tinkering and inventing. They stand at the beginning of what has become known as the ‘Maker Movement’. Fab Labs aim to be the places where digital manufacturing know how is shared among their users. Particularly in Europe the Fab Lab concept has inspired grass-roots communities to set up such workshops. Fab Labs have been instrumental in promoting 3D printing, since these were the places where 3D printers were available to the public. Some Fab Labs were also involved in iconic 3D printing projects and developing and improving 3D printers. However, most of the current activities in Fab Labs remain recreational or educational. Meanwhile new models for collaborative production are slowly developing. Some technical, economic and social challenges have to be resolved. And Fab Labs will have to work actively on becoming economically, socially and ecologically sustainable.