Newsletter May 2013

This is the May 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
  • Isabella's Story
  • Featured Event: 1st European Maker Faire, Rome.
  • The Science of Digital Fabrication
  • Member #250: Mark Schreiber
  • Colophon

From the board

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

Dear friends

This Newsletter brings you a brief round-up of what has been happening in Fab world. Hard to say what is the biggest news here – 11-year-old Isabella running her own open Fab Lab, the guided tour to the "Science of Digital Fabrication" meeting last month, or our 250th member...

Isabella's Story

My name is Isabella, I am 11 years old, and I volunteer with the Champaign Urbana Community
Fablab. The first time I made something at the lab I knew I wanted to become a volunteer. I really
wanted to be able to help other people learn to use all the software and tools that are available in the

In addition to volunteering during regular lab hours, I also host a monthly open lab for people between
the ages of 10 and 16. So far we have had 3 very fun and successful get-togethers. Each month we have a small project that is designed to introduce an area of the lab. The goal is that once everyone has a feel for the capabilities of the lab, they will begin doing the things they want to do. One of the best parts about having our own day is that we do not feel like we are competing with anyone else for the lab's resources. On that one day of the month the lab is all ours.

Featured Event: 1st European Maker Faire, Rome

Maker Faire Rome just published their "Call for Makers". The call is open until Sunday 2 June 2013. This is the opportunity you have to submit your great project to the Maker Faire Team and become one of the protagonists of this amazing Show (and Tell) taking place in October in Rome.

The schedule of the Maker Faire Rome is roughly

  • Conference: Thursday 3 October 2013
  • Educational Day: Friday 4 October 2013
  • Exhibition: Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October 2013

A Quick Guide to The Science of Digital Fabrication – Betty Jo Barret

On March 7, 2013 at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, Neil Gershenfeld put together a fascinating event that featured the rock stars of digital fabrication. The audience included scientists, makers, policy makers, students, inventors and a large group of fab lab people. The entire program including slides for most talks is available at

The Materials and Mechanisms section of the program began with Griffith’s overview of the history of digital fabrication that started with knitted work from ~1000AD and concluded with the folding protein chains from Cheung, Demaine, Griffith and Bachrach. This section of the presentations was a whirlwind ride through an array of assembly mechanisms at ever increasing scale from nano-assembly to mega-assembly. Yin showed us digital fabrication with DNA while Sass discussed his work on reshaping the home construction process.

The second section of the program focused on Processes and Workflows. This was another rapid fire journey that raced from simulation to self reproducing systems. Lewis showed us her work with conductive ink, Demaine described his materials folding work, and Church told the story of DNA archiving and genome engineering.

The third section in the afternoon was a series of briefings by public and private organizations. NASA, DARPA, NSF, DOE, Make Magazine, the city of Barcelona were among those that provided a lead in to U.S. Representative Bill Foster. Foster has introduced a bill that will encourage the establishment of fab labs throughout the U.S. (pictures available on the website).

Audience members joined the presenters in working groups on policy, standards, infrastructure, communication and education in the final activity of the day. Each group reported on the flow of their discussion. It was a great way to try to capture some of the ideas that were raised by the scientific and creative presentations.

Member #250: Mark Schreiber, Fort Collins CO

What attracts you to the idea of Fab Lab?

Over the years of teaching I have seen over and over again that the sticking point of fabrication tends to be the lack of skills to properly run dangerous machines. A student will dream up amazing products but become frustrated when they try to create them. Digital fabrication takes some of the finesse/craftsmanship and definitely the danger out of fabrication so that student's can reach their full potential.

What in particular do you want to accomplish with the planned Fab Lab in Fort Collins you are referring to?

Fort Collins is located in Northern Colorado and is in close proximity to 2 other similar sized towns, Greeley & Loveland. My goal is to help people see what a Fabrication Lab is, what it can do in a classroom in hopes that we will be able to create an official Northern Colorado FabLab that is open to the public. I'm looking forward to meeting more like-minded FabFolk in Japan and getting my head filled with ideas to bring back to our new Lab(s)!

Mark Schreiber In Yokohama EditedMark is an Engineering, Technology, & Design teacher from Fort Collins CO who loves to create new things as well as help others to do the same. In 2005, Mark was surprised and humbled to receive the National Milken Educator Award for his work in design-thinking education which has spurred him on to find even better methods for teaching. Digital Fabrication will soon be one of these 'better methods' as he implements a partial FabLab style classroom in the Fall of 2013. Mark ften feels compelled to leave his creations behind and head to the mountains for some relaxing hikes with his wife and 3 daughters.

This is Mark, but this is not Fort Collins, CO. Where has this picture of Mark been taken?


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