Four Hours to Build a Chair

Kelsey Chair

Safety training also includes basic use of tools. Last night Kelsey was thrilled to have used the radial arm saw during training. Today she went all out, used several power tools and built a chair!

Last year I built a chair from a single piece of 2×4 wood, eight feet long. It was a one-page project detailed in MAKE magazine and allowed me to use a variety of tools and joining techniques. At the time I thought it would be a great project for Kelsey to learn from but not till today did it happen.

The reason it took till now? Safety training at our makerspace got her excited. Continue reading

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Fab Lab Network Symposium

FabLab

I first visited soon after their opening. Now, just a short time later this fab facility was hosting the U.S. Fab Lab Network Symposium. Impressive! It was a great opportunity to meet people.

The Fab Lab model originated at MIT’s Media Lab around 10 years ago and has since grown to a network of over 100 facilities worldwide. Each fab lab is a small scale workshop for digital fabrication where ideas are modeled in software and cheaply prototyped using computer controlled (CNC) tools. Sounds exotic, I know, but it’s real and potentially the biggest thing to hit manufacturing in a century.

I first fell in love with digital fabrication when I saw it in action at Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Later Neil Gershenfeld’s “FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop” started to flesh out the vision. However, it was in my travels to makerspaces and seeing what makers were doing that inspired me to keep learning. My six weeks at TechShop were a direct result of this.

Fab Labs in the United States have formed an association and the meeting I attended in Tulsa was the U.S. Fab Lab Network Symposium’s third annual meeting. Topics were organizing, planning, and training to advance the effectiveness of the network. Still a work in progress but great that such an effort is underway.

Tulsa wasn’t the most obvious place to hold it. Can’t say I’ve even heard of conferences being held there but it was for a good reason. Fab Lab Tulsa is a new facility and they were in an excellent position to host the event. It was well done and while there aren’t enough resources to get their ambitious agenda complete, the heart and spirit are strong.

Here are just a few shots from the Fab Lab itself: Continue reading

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