Alaska Federation of Natives Fab Lab in Fairbanks, AK

In the News

First article:

The Alaska Federation of Natives invites anyone and everyone to visit the first-in-Alaska "Fab Lab" demonstration at the 2010 AFN Convention, October 21-23 in Fairbanks, a press release from AFN said.

The AFN Convention Fab Lab is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation and is being presented in collaboration with the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois, and the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab (CUCFL). The project will introduce and demonstrate the capabilities of a Fab Lab at the Convention. During the three-day convention, Dr. Alan Craig from I-CHASS and a group of Fab Lab volunteers will engage Convention goers in the utilization of new technology and offer hands-on demonstrations of the capabilities of a Fab Lab.

Source: The Tundra Drums, October 12th, 2010

From another article:

FAIRBANKS — For many rural Alaskans, getting specialized parts can be difficult. Shipping can take too long — if parts can be shipped at all.

But what if they could make specialized parts in their own communities?

A group at the Alaska Federation of Natives is looking at what that could mean for rural Alaskans by having a Fab Lab, Fabrication Lab, set up at the convention.

Students from the South End Technology Center in Boston were showing students from the Effie Kokrine Charter School how to use some of the machines, which included laser cutters and 3D printers.

The idea is to get people innovating, according to Alan Craig. Craig is the associate director of Human-Computer Interaction at the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And he is leading the AFN FabLab, located in a tent outside of the Carlson Center.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Fab Labs offer possible boon to rural villages

And another article:

FAIRBANKS — Stepping inside a small tent just outside the Carlson Center in Fairbanks during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention last month, one might have come under the impression that he or she had walked into an assembly-line factory.

Laser-etching machines inscribed insignia on coffee mugs, moose antlers and a variety of other objects, and three-dimensional printers created plastic ball bearings and other fully functional mechanical devices.

But this wasn't a manufacturing plant or a factory. Instead, it was a place where kids and adults could come to create just about anything they could dream up, with a little assistance from some professional-grade equipment.

"You and I can't just walk into some company and say, 'I wanna make one of these,'" said Alan Craig, associate director of human-computer interaction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Thus the mission of the Fabrication Labs, or "Fab Labs": to equip participants with the means to explore their creativity and see their dreams through to completion.

Read more:  'Fab Lab' allows kids, adults to explore their creativity