Martinsville, Virginia


Fab Lab Fun: Week 1

This story is the first in a series of posts called “FAB Lab Fun”.  FAB Labs, or Fabrication Laboratories, are  defined as a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access to tools for digital fabrication and are most often offered as a community resource. Discover the hands-on experience of taking a FAB Lab class through staff member, Beth Stinnett. We hope you enjoy going with her along for the ride.

How to Make Almost Anything! Sounds a little far-fetched; but it’s not. Not at the FAB Lab in The Artisan Center in Uptown Martinsville. The FAB Lab is the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia that is a part of the Fab Lab Network. It houses a variety of tools including 3D printers, replicators, plasma cutters and injection molders. 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. 

With a natural curiosity and respect for technology, but little creativity of my own, I registered for the “How To Make Almost Anything Class!” and nervously entered class on the first night. Almost instantly, my fears were diminished by the greeting from my instructor, Matthew Wade, who told my peers and I that it’s ok if we are a little intimidated, because most students of the program are at the beginning. After a thorough explanation of the class, equipment and a deep explanation of what Fab Labs are, our first session began.

After exploring our way through the first software program and recreating the examples and patterns asked of us, we were free to design something that we can print on the vinyl cutter next week. One of my peers finished early and was able to print her first design that night; an awesome decal for her grandson with his name on it.

I can’t wait until next week to see how my first creation turns out.