December Discoveries: The FAB Lab
This story is the sixth in a series of posts called "December Discoveries". Through the eyes of our staff and a few guest bloggers, the posts will shed light on fun activities to enjoy, new exhibits to experience and the interesting stories behind some of our local businesses. Whether you are discovering these attractions for the first time or rediscovering an old favorite, we hope that you enjoy the series.
Have you ever thought of an idea for a product that would make life easier? If only it existed...right? While years ago we would have had to wait for someone to invent, design and produce new products, today the future is in our hands. In a revolutionary new fabrication lab in Martinsville, Virginia, called the FAB Lab, if you can dream it up -you can make it.
Located inside The Artisan Center in Uptown Martinsville, which is also home to the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center, the FAB Lab offers students and members a chance to design prototype products from sketches to computer renderings to 3D printed models and finally prototype products. A variety of tools including 3D printers, replicators, plasma cutters and injection molders are available for lab visitors to use.
It is the first and only lab of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia, certified by the FAB Lab Network. The lab is still developing and you can keep up with progress and updates on their Facebook page.
Once lab users have taken an introductory course on the lab which covers proper use of equipment and safety procedures they can begin designing and creating in the lab. Lab users have the option to pay one fee and become a member of the lab (like a gym membership) or they can pay a la carte for time in the lab and materials used.
FAB Lab Coordinator, Matthew Wade, recently gave a tour of the facilities to show the various work stations and samples of items than can be made there.
From unique trophies and intricate Christmas ornaments to prototype machine parts to be used by real industries, the possibilities are endless. If you have a dream for the next big thing, consider taking a drive to Martinsville to visit the FAB Lab. Your dream could become a very profitable reality.