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Fab LAB BCN Fabrication Laboratories

Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow’s personal fabricators.

Fab Lab Network

Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer projectbased technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines. Fab labs share core capabilities, so that people and projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:

India Netherlands Japan Costa Rica Bélgium United States South Africa Ghana Kenya Iceland Norway Spain Afghanistán

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

These work with components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a fab lab being able to make a fab lab.

Fab Labs in the world

* A computer-controlled lasercutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts * A larger (4’x8’) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture- (and house-) sized parts * A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas * A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make threedimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards * Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors

Fab Lab

Fab Lab

Fab Labs are the educational outreach component of the Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2001 the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. funded MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, an ambitious interdisciplinary initiative that is looking beyond the end of the Digital Revolution to ask how a functional description of a system can be embodied in, and abstracted from, a physical form. CBA’s laboratory research on technologies for personal fabrication is complemented by the field ‘Fab Lab’ programme, which brings prototyping capabilities to under-served communities that have been beyond the reach of conventional technology development and deployment. By making engineering accessible in space (down to microns, through precision machining) and time (down to microseconds, through RISC microcontrollers), these facilities have been uncovering what can be thought of as instrumentation and fabrication divides, and suggesting that they can be addressed by bringing IT development rather than just IT to the masses. The engineering capability for design and fabrication at the scales described above opens up numerous possibilities for innovative solutions to common problems. Since local communities themselves foster this innovation, it can lead to sustainable solutions. Highend technological solutions have not as yet addressed the problems faced on the local level; in the light of this, we believe Fab Labs will provide a thriving incubator for local micro-businesses.

CBA Fab Labs have been opened in rural India, northern Norway, Ghana, Boston and Costa Rica. Fab Lab outreach projects are being explored with a growing group of institutional partners and countries that includes Panama, Trinidad and South Africa, and the US National Academies, the Indian Department of Science and Technology, and the Africa-America Institute.

Fab Lab Network A Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) is a small-scale workshop with the tools to make almost anything. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production. While Fab Labs cannot compete with mass production and its associated economies of scale in fabricating widely distributed products, they have the potential to empower individuals to create smart devices for themselves. These devices can be tailored to local or personal needs in ways that are not practical or economical using mass production.

Fab Lab Bcn Fab Lab BCN is a production, investigation and education centre that uses latest-generation digital machines for the creation of prototypes and scale models for architecture, construction, industrial design and other activities that need a direct connection from computer to machinery to process materials according to digital instructions. These technologies also enable material production using parametric design and the manufacture of different elements at no added cost, thus empowering personal fabrication. Fab Lab BCN, the first Fab Lab in Spain, opened in March 2007. The Director of the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and the father of the Fab Lab Network, Neil Gershenfeld, visited the Fab Lab facilities at the IaaC to give a number of lectures and conferences about Labs around the world and the next generation of networking: Internet 0. This Fab Lab works in four main areas: FAB LAB CENTRAL FAB LAB MASTERS FAB LAB PRO FAB LAB KIDS FAB ACADEMY

Fab Lab Bcn @ IaaC

Fab Lab Central FAB LAB BCN

FAB LAB CENTRAL is an educational centre for young people and children, run according to the principles of the Fab Lab group of the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and participating in the worldwide network of Fab Labs. 4x8 Design Competition Workshop

Amy Sun from the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms visited Fab Lab BCN to run the 4’x8’ workshop on creating objects from a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood. The participants aimed to achieve excellence through the develWorkshop introduction opment of creative concepts, researching innovative digital fabrication processes and adding intelligence and interactivity through the application of sensors, actuators and microcontrollers. All of the entries were displayed and judged at a special exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Ill., USA during The Fourth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication Workshop leader: Amy Sun. MIT Center for Bits and Atoms. Boston Workshop assistants: Tomas Diéz, Victor Vina. Fab Lab Bcn IaaC´s entries won different awards in the advanced division at the 4x8 Design Competition in Chicago organized by MIT Center for Bits and Atoms. Awards • “Mr. Ribs”, Raquel Asensio and Guillermo Oriol. Overall Best Design • “Symphony tool”, Albert Morera. Best Engineering Design • “Reusabilty”, Xavier Tutó and Katia Glossman. Best Innovation. The 4x8 exhibition and design competition took place during the fourth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication in the city of Chicago.

Amy Sun reviewing projects

Albert Morera designing electronics for the ST

4x8 Workshop final review

KX Designers work in progress

Fab Lab Masters FAB LAB MASTERS is a high-level research and tutoring centre, mainly oriented at IaaC masters’ students and professionals around the country, with lines of work proposed by other national or international organizations. This introduces IaaC Master’s students to digital fabrication technologies. Starting in the first term, all students take part in Digital Tools and Fabrication course, where they learn to work with the Laser Cutter, 3D Printer, CNC Milling Machine and Electronic Components design. During the development of the MAA Programme all students have access to the Fab Lab BCN for the production of mock-ups, models, prototypes and 1:1 scale components.

Electronics and interactivity projects

Soldering circuits and chips

3D Printing: fixing and finishing models

Waiting for the Laser Cutter

The Pipe project > Laser cutter

Taking pieces out of the 3D Printer

Models produced at the Fab Lab. Master in Advanced Architecture studio project


Fab Lab Pro Fab Lab Pro is one of the four main areas of Fab Lab BCN, a place for the manufacture of prototypes, mock-ups and small productions. It is open to professionals and companies working in any field related to design, architecture or construction. Fab Lab Pro offers services for the production of professional projects using digital fabrication. Assesment and education are part of the inclusion of Fab Labs tools into the normal practice. Services to use different technologies are open to public.

Laser cutter course

Preparing the 3D printer

Materiality research

3D printed model

Explaining the laser cutter

Laser engraving on glass

Fab Lab Pro project for a topographic model


Fab Lab Kids FAB LAB KIDS brings technologies to new generations of users who will lead the revolution in digital fabrication in the future. Fab Lab Bcn will open specific programs related with digital fabrication and its applications. Kids making their own toys and objecs, inventing softwares, and interactive games, are mid term goals achieved so far. Workshop leaders Victor Vina. Fab Lab Bcn Tomas DiĂŠz. Fab Lab Bcn

Approach to the software

Building skateboards

Soldering circuits

Personal fabricated

Stencils printed in the laser cutter

Design Process

Playing with GIKs


Fab Academy The Fab Academy will provide instruction and supervise investigation of mechanisms, applications, and implications of digital fabrication. The Fab Academy is a distributed education system, it will connect via video conference, and Internet, experienced professors with students located in Fab Labs of the world. From a 30 week program to specialized certificates in digital fabrication: The Fab Academy consists in the addition of certificates in processes about digital fabrication, the result of this addition is the “Fab Academy Diploma�. Individual certificates could be taken independently of the entire program.

When? Applications are open from January 20th to March 30th. The program will have two main cores of 15 weeks: September- December 2009 and February - May 2010. This completes a 600 hours program including: - Weekly videoconference classes with international experienced faculty - Personalized instructors locally placed in Labs - On site tutorials - Time in equipment operation Where? There are ten Fab Labs that will offer the Fab Academy program 20092010: - Barcelona, Spain - New Delhi, India - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Ohio, United States - Boston, United States - Oklahoma, United States - Cape Town, South Africa - Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland - Lyngen, Norway - Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Fab academy launching meeting. Jnuary 2009, Norway


Fab Lab Network FAB LAB BCN

The Fab Lab programme is part of the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) which broadly explores how the content of information relates to its physical representation. The Fab Lab programme has close connections with the technical outreach activities of a number of partner organizations, focused on the emerging possibility of enabling ordinary people not just to learn about science and engineering but actually to design machines and make measurements that can actually enhance the quality of their lives. Fab Lab BCN participates in joint videoconferences with the other Fab Labs around the world, and its members have attended the Fab Forums: the Fab Lab world network meetings.

Tomas Diez (Fab Lab Bcn) kept a weblog of the mobile fab lab trip from Chicago to Cambridge... via Nevada!

Fab Forums • The Third International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication 25 - 30 June 2006, Pretoria, South Africa • The Fourth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication 20 - 24 August 2007, Chicago, Illinois, US • The Fifth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication August 2009, India


• Open Source Furniture. The project aims to create an open-source online library of furniture for users to print their own designs at any Fab Lab in the world. •Mobile Fab Lab. United States, summer 2007. The mobile Fab Lab is a complete Fab Lab in a trailer. This mobile Fab Lab crossed the US Midwest, from Illinois to Nevada, by way of Colorado, to Cambridge, Mass., stopping at the Burning Man Festival, NREL Labs, University of Colorado, and many other places. Mobile Fab Lab Team Members: • Amy Sun, MIT CBA • Kenny Cheung, MIT CBA • Tomas Diez, Fab Lab Bcn

Lucas Cappelli soldering circuit boards, 4th Fab Lab Forum, South Africa

Mobile Fab Lab Camp at Burning Man Festival 2007

WEEKEND ARCHITECTURAL WORKSHOPS The Weekend Architectural Workshops (WAW) are a one-weekend intensive experience in Digital Fabrication technologies. WAWs are a new format for introducing architecture, design, art and multi-disciplined students to fabrication equipment such as the Laser Cutter, CNC Mill and 3D Printer for the production of models, prototypes and 1:1 scale objects and components. WAWs are organized by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, and are oriented toward architecture, art, and design schools and institutions in different countries around the world.

Digital Fabrication, Laser Cutter

Assembling Pieces

3D printed objects

Structure fabrication

Testing components

Flying in the beach

Boat race

Mauritania - Drifting Dwelling (Ben Howard, Arnhildur Palmadottir)



Fab Lab Bcn

Fab Lab Bcn facilities include different machinery and equipment for digital fabrication: 400w Laser Cutter, 100w Laser Cutter, 3 axes CNC Milling Machine (1.5m x 3m x 30cm), Full Color 3D Printer, Small Milling Machine to print board circuits and casting molds, Vinyl Cutter to cut flexible materials (including special copper for circuits), Videoconference system to be connected with the Fab Lab Network and other partners.

CNC Milling Machine

Vinyl Cutter

3D Printer

Fab Lab Bcn uses different machinery to achieve projects in different scales. From the design and fabrication of circuits with microcontrollers to develop interactive devices, to the fabrication of 1:1 scales structures and components in a variety of materials. Fab Lab Bcn goes beyond the digital fabrication in architecture, through workshops and projects we are opening the personal fabrication to the society.

Laser Cutter Foam milling

Wood cutting

Flexible copper cutting

Circuit Printing


Metal cutting

CNC Milling Machine and 3D Scanner

400w Laser Cutter

Fab Lab Bcn Team

Fab Lab Spain Director Vicente Guallart

Digital Tectonics MAA Research Line Director Marta Malé-Alemany

Fab Lab Bcn Coordination Tomas Diez Fab Lab Assistants Shane Salisbury Francisca Aroso Electronics and Interaction Victor Viña

Technical Support

Fáx: (+34) 93 300 43 33


e-mail: Teléfono: (+34) 93 320 95 20


Pu jad





Leandro Rocha



El Fab Lab Bcn is at Institut d´arquitectura avançada de Catalunya. Calle Pujades 102, baixos. Poble Nou. Barcelona, 08005

© 2008. Institut d´arquitectura avançada de Catalunya

Fab Lab Barcelona  

Brief about Fab Lab Barcelona.

Fab Lab Barcelona  

Brief about Fab Lab Barcelona.