To better serve and invest in our local community the Fab Lab has partnered with several anchor institutions to help introduce people (especially kids) to the process of making. We are helping them to set up their own maker spaces as well as coordinating a variety of collaborations, including workshops, outreach events and consultation. We also continue to retain connections to the global and national Fab Lab community.
Note: This document is a very rough draft. If you're a Mac OS X user who would like to access mcu.cba.mit.edu, please try it and let me know how well these instructions work be e-mailing me me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by adding a comment to this page.
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If you're starting a Fab Lab, we'd like to hear from you regardless of whether these FAQ items answered all of your questions. There's a lot to talk about, and making connections within the Fab Lab community is valuable for all of us. Our contact information is here.
Q: Do all Fab Labs have exactly the same equipment?
A: All Fab Labs use the same basic equipment although most Fab Labs may not have things such as the 3D printer and ShopBot, not all labs will have the space or funding for the larger or more expensive equipment.
Q: How much space does the CUCFL occupy?
Q: Who uses the CUCFL?
A: Our Fab Lab is open to the general public and we literally have folks from 8 months to 82 years old using the lab. It also helps that we have a diverse group of patrons and volunteers who work with the Fab Lab.
We also reach alternative parts of the community through mini lab sites at The Urbana Free Library (teen open lab) and Tap In Leadership Academy, as well as through specific events and workshops held off-site.
Participants on-campus are roughly 50% students and 50% community members, including a mixture of artists, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists. Families are welcome though generally kids under 10 will not be able to get much out of a visit.
Q: How did the CUCFL begin its outreach efforts?
A: The first group we had in the Fab Lab was from the local Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club last July/August 2010. The project we provided was constructing small robots using lab equipment. Also, we've opened the Fab Lab to groups of freshman engineering students working to construct a MakerBot and also a go-cart.
Up-to-date information about CUCFL outreach efforts can be found here.
Q: What does it cost to operate the CUCFL?
A: Our Fab Lab is primarily volunteer-run, which means our budget is unusual. As a component of the public engagement arm of the University of Illinois we run under a kind of non-profit model, operating mainly on grants, gifts, funds from collaborations and earnings from workshops and materials sales. There are no membership fees of any kind, though specific site labs may require other criteria (teens only at the library, Tap In Academy scholars in the school system, etc...). For a specific estimate on our current operational costs come in to visit us and ask.
Some (very) rough estimates:
Equipment value - 50k +
2 quarter time student workers - 12k / year
Facility - Unknown (paid for by University)
Materials/Upkeep - 3k / year
Core volunteer value - likely around 200k / year or more
Q: Is the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab affiliated with a university?
Q: What does it take in terms of IT equipment and internet bandwidth to establish a free standing Fab Lab?
A: We currently employ the following IT solutions:
Below are answers to some common and/or interesting questions that have come up when talking to people who are starting new Fab Labs.
Klondike Kate almost threw away this biscuit, but Yukon Johann grabbed it and engraved it on the laser cutter.