Newsletter February 2013

This is the February 2013 Newsletter of the International Fab Lab Association. It is an association of individuals interested in and/or involved in the Fab Lab community. It is a democratic organization run by its members. We will inform you about what is happening in the Fab Lab world and how you can participate. Feel free to forward this Newsletter!


  • From the board
  • Picture of the monthNew Book: FabLab — Of Machines, Makers and Inventors
  • New Resources on Starting a Fab Lab
  • Peter Uithoven: Participate in the Open Source Community
  • Picture of the Month
  • Upcoming events: 
    Fab Lab Operations webinar on Friday, March 1st, 2013
    The Science of Digital Fabrication, March 7, 2013, MIT
  • Colophon

From the board

Ifa Board Members2012 Small
From left to right: Peter, Betty, Lass, Axel, Lindi, Alex, Chris, Katie, Nicolas

Dear friends

It took us a looong time to bring out this issue of our newsletter ... but here you go, finally.

The big news is that just before Christmas we hit the magic number 200 in terms of members: yes, that's you out there! And the counter stands at 230 just now. I would not be surprised to have welcomed another couple of new members by the time this message reaches you. This is also more than double the amount of people we were a year ago.

Also the number of labs has been exploding, with new countries coming online: Turkey, Chile, Curaçao, Togo, South Korea, 2 new labs in Australia, 7 new labs in France ... an amazing growth ... the Iceland wiki already shows 234 labs (of which many in preparation).

But we are not finished yet. There are still so many enthusiastic, ingenuous and inventive people out there using Fab Labs day in day out anywhere on this planet. Let's all make them connect through Fab Lab International.  Tell your friends to sign up at  Together we want to become the biggest community of Fab Lab users.

FABulous greetings! Alex, Axel, Betty, Chris, Katie, Lass, Lindi, Nicolas, Peter

New Book: FabLab — Of Machines, Makers and Inventors

Exciting times also on the news front. In March, a new book with the title FabLab – Of Machines, Makers and Inventors will be published (ISBN 978-3-8376-2382-6). Worldwide orders from amazon or a comparable platform, as well as from the publisher’s website ( are possible as soon as the book is printed. The book has been collated by Julia Walter-Herrmann and Corinne Büching ... and this is its content:

Notes on FabLabs by Julia Walter-Herrmann & Corinne Büching
The Movement
Notes on the Movement by Karsten Joost
FabLabs – A Global Social Movement? by Julia Walter-Herrmann
Homo Fabber and the Law by Lambert Grosskopf
Gendered FabLabs? by Tanja Carstensen
Fabricating Environments for Children by Irene Posch
Materiality and virtuality
Notes on Materiality and Virtuality by Bruce Sterling
Considering Algorithmics and Aesthetics by Frieder Nake
Digital Realities, Physical Action and Deep Learning FabLabs as Educational Environments? by Heidi Schelhowe
A Universe of Objects by Corinne Büching
Maker culture
Notes on Maker Culture by Eva-Sophie Katterfeldt, Anja Zeising & Michael Lund
The History of Production with Computers by Bernard Robben
Maker Culture, Digital Tools and Exploration Support for FabLabs by Eva-Sophie Katterfeldt
Thoughts from the Road of a FabLab Nomad by Jens Dyvik
Technology and Infrastructure
Notes on Technology and Infrastructure by Bre Pettis
Machines for Personal Fabrication by René Bohne
Digital Fabrication in Educational Contexts. Ideas for a Constructionist Workshop Setting by Nadine Dittert & Dennis Krannich
Making the Third Industrial Revolution, The Struggle for Polycentric Structures and a New Peer-Production Commons in the FabLab Community by Peter Troxler
CommunIty and Environment
Notes on Community and Environment by Bart Bakker
Digital Fabrication and ‘Making’ in Education, The Democratization of Invention by Paulo Blikstein
Urban Development with FabLabs by Axel Sylvester & Tanja Döring
Small Ideas, Big Opportunities. FabLab at Vigyan Ashram Pabal, India by Yogesh Ramesh Kulkarni
Affordable Medical Prostheses Created in FabLabs by Alex Schaub
FabLabs, Thoughts and Remembrances by Sherry Lassiter

New Resources on Starting a Fab Lab

These are a bunch of nice links to share with your friends who want to start their own lab:

Peter Uithoven: Participate in the Open Source Community

Peter, you've got a message for the Fab community ...

I'd like to invite you, all Fablab managers and users, to participate in the open source community, to help develop and improve open source software and open hardware like Visicut, Cura, LaOSlaser etc.


Why should we spend our time and brains on OS projects?

By investing time (and money) in these projects we can make life for Fablab visitors and managers a lot better. This can be done by almost everybody, not just developers, by helping in the design and documentation. People could for example make suggestions that makes the application more user friendly. Why spend a lot of time on manuals and fabsheets, which can be reduced significantly in length when we help out other opensource communities with our insights in how beginners use their software. By improving these projects you make sure everybody can benefit, not just Fablabs. We can spare people hours of learning software and add features commercial parties don't think of. I am already involved in a number of projects, like Visicut, where I'm trying to make it easier for visitors to lasercut, feel free to get in contact with me to learn how to contribute.

How do we participate in open source development?

Most projects have a issue queue in which you can report issues and suggestions. A lot of opensource projects are hosten on github, so it's easy to find the issue queue, take Visicut for example:

Can you be a bit more specific?

I give you an example. I'm a interaction designer, I can code, but I'm no expert in desktop applications. Therefore I started an issue on a few usability problems that I saw in VisiCut, It led to a few very concrete suggestions which thanks to the hard work of Thomas Oster were implemented in less than a day. See the two screenshots in the end of the issue for the effect it has for visitors in Fablab Amersfoort.
Another brainstorm led to the possibility of lasercutting code, which enables people to do crazy stuff with power and speed:

What if I am not a programmer and not gifted to find the weak spots of a product?

Another concrete way you can help is by improving the documentation of projects. Think about improving manuals, writing good tutorials etc. It's a good idea to do this on the wiki of the project, so the existing community can help you. I missed a quick overview in the OpenSCAD manuals, so I created a so called cheatsheet:
I could also use your perspective in a brainstorm for Fablab context specific lasercutting software:

Peter, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Picture of the month

What are you seeing, where on earth is this found and what is its relation with Fab Labs? 

8497791936 Cae7e3a8da B

Potm Oct The picture riddle of the November 2012 issue of our Newsletter will be solved later.

Upcoming events

Fab Lab Operations Webinar

1 March 2013, 12pm Eastern, 90 minutes. Register at: 

with: Steve Gallagher (Fox Valley Technical College), Tom Singer (Sinclair Community College),
Doug Prehoda (Mott Community College), Kelly Zona (Community College of Baltimore County), Jim Janisse (Fox Valley Technical College)


The Science of Digital Fabrication

7 March 2013, all day, MIT, E14-638, program see here: (registration required).

This workshop will review the research required to turn data into things and things into data, gathering an emerging interdisciplinary community to provide input to guide policy and programs in this area. It is open but requires registration based on available space; to register send your name and any institutional affiliation you'd like to include to <>


This Newsletter is sent to you on behalf of the Board of the Fab Lab User Group. Our central email address is; the address of our web site is

International Fab Lab Association, the Fab Lab User Group – – Bank relation Triodos Bank, Zeist, The Netherlands, IBAN NL20 TRIO 0254 3246 57, BIC TRIONL2U – PayPal, Chamber of Commerce NL 53099230

Cc ByThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.