Bring the Mobile FabLab to Your School
Educators: Want to teach your students how to prototype and help them build technical skills? Consider a visit from the Mobile FabLab!
What is a FabLab?
The FabLab concept—short for Fabrication Laboratory—was developed by the Center for Bits & Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Lab is a technology platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, create, learn and invent. It combines high-tech production equipment with an easy user interface to help students and teachers use rapid prototyping in their STEM projects. With open-source software, FabLab users can create everything from circuit boards to furniture to microcontrollers for robots: if you dream it, you can design and produce it!
A Worldwide Network
FabLab’s capabilities aren’t limited to Cleveland: Great Lakes Science Center’s FabLab and the Mobile FabLab managed by the Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE) are part of a global network that includes 13 countries and 24 time zones. This network allows Labs to share projects and exchange ideas with innovators around the world. Ninth-graders at MC² STEM High School, who attend class at the Science Center, regularly use the Lab as part of their project-based curriculum.
What’s in a FabLab?
The Great Lakes Science Center and Mobile FabLabs are full of sophisticated, computer-controlled digital equipment, including:
- Laser Cutter: cuts 2D parts to assemble press-fit 3D structures such as buildings, lanterns, or mini-furniture; also engraves text onto wood, metal, and other materials
- Shopbot CNC Mill: cuts, drills, carves, and machines wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials
- Vinyl Cutter: plots cuts for thin materials, such as fabric, vinyl, very thin metal, etc.; cuts out flexible elements such as circuits and antennae
- Modela 3D Plotter/Desktop Miller: cuts wax, wood, plastic, and light metal to create anything from circuit boards to 3D molds; starts with a block of material and mills it down to a 3D structure
Can I Bring the Mobile FabLab to My Community?
Schools, companies, and community organizations may host the Mobile FabLab with some simple training and project-planning help from educators at CISE. To inquire about hosting the Mobile FabLab or to take an introductory tour (available once per month), please contact Great Lakes Science Center at 216-621-2400.
In the past year, the Mobile FabLab has appeared at Ingenuity Fest, the eTech Ohio conference, the STEMTech Conference, John Muir Elementary (Parma School District), Orchard School of Science (CMSD), Hannah Gibbons Elementary (CMSD), Michael R. White Elementary (CMSD), Mound Elementary (CMSD), Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy, and the Rock Your World with STEAM Festival.
Mobile FabLab Hosting Fees
Fees include one lead FabLab educator and several assistants to help plan and lead programming at the host site, project supplies for a full classroom for one week, and FabLab maintenance costs. Mileage to and from the host site and overnight hotel stays for staff (if necessary) not included.
Three-day training with FabLab educators*: $1,355
One-week Mobile FabLab visit: $4,575
*Educators who have been trained through the FabLab Friday program from CISE may host a Mobile FabLab visit without the three-day training.
Want to know more about FabLab? Check out these resources:
FabLab at MC² STEM High School: https://sites.google.com/site/mcstemhs/fablab
Mobile FabLab Blog: http://mc2stemhs.wordpress.com/mobile-trailer/
Fab Central: http://fab.cba.mit.edu/
How do I reserve the Mobile FabLab?
Call the reservations department at Great Lakes Science Center at 216-621-2400 (Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5:30 pm).