What? We think of Fab Labs as independent operations supplying a focus for local fabrication activities, channeling ideas, tools, techniques, parts and space together where Great Things Evolve. Typically they spring up out of grassroots ideas from strong proponents who just make it happen, sometimes with local academic or corporate sponsorship. But now we read this:
H.R.6003 — National Fab Lab Network Act of 2010 (Introduced in House – IH)
HR 6003 IH
H. R. 6003
To provide for the establishment of the National Fab Lab Network to build out a network of community based, networked Fabrication Laboratories across the United States to foster a new generation with scientific and engineering skills and to provide a workforce capable of producing world class individualized and traditional manufactured goods.
Wow! They say:
A new kind of national infrastructure will be required in order to adequately take advantage of leading edge digital fabrication technologies to secure the United States’ leading position in scientific fields and to promote a robust manufacturing base.
They are proposing (as this Act has not yet passed) to establish a non-profit entity to manage a national network of fabrication laboratories, coordinating activities between them. The new “NFLN” would be the first point of contact for anyone wishing to create a new Fab Lab; set standards for Fab Labs and judge whether requestors are able to meet them; hook up sponsors and fabricators to make it happen; promote the idea of fabrication via labs to the public.
They want to establish “at least one Fab Lab per every 700,000 individuals in the United States in the first ten years of its operation”. Um, our simplistic arithmetic shows this would be 438 Fab Labs, based on 307,006,550 residents (from July 2009) divided by 700,000. Many cities would have several Fab Labs, if this scheme works. Oh, and the population is likely to grow a tad by ten year’s time.
But how is it funded? The bill says: “The NFLN may accept donations from private individuals, corporations, government agencies, or other organizations.” In other words, it’s really intended to organize the ongoing Fab Lab phenomenon. What do you think of this proposal?
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
Swapnil Sinha is a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University whose research in additive manufacturing shows strength for the future of both DfAM and in-situ embedding in 3D printed parts.
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Welcome to Fabbaloo, one of the world’s oldest online news sources for 3D printing news. We’ve been in operation since 2007, where we first started examining the state of 3D printers. These devices are now relatively common among some circles in today’s world, but years ago it was extremely rare to see a 3D printer or even a 3D printed object.
At that time it was challenging to find any 3D printing news, so we decided to make our own site that covered 3D printer news, and even associated technologies like 3D scanning and 3D modeling. Today it is common to find 3D printers in schools, workshops and makerspaces, and you probably have been using 3D printed objects without even knowing they were 3D printed.
Today’s industry has finally taken up the challenge by installing thousands of industrial 3D printers, each producing previously impossible 3D printed parts that make today’s society far more efficient. The aerospace industry in particular has been producing many 3D printed parts, some even for flight critical purposes.
If you want to learn about 3D printers, then there’s no better place than Fabbaloo’s 3D printer news to see the latest happenings.
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