What if you could print your imagination?
Certainly, not all your imagination!
What if you could visualize any idea you had then Think it, Make it, Share it.
You’ve probably thought about designing and fabricating your own prototype, product, or hardware from scratch?
It’s just the idea seems unrealistic, since you lack the skills, the equipment, and proper “know-how”.
Well, the good news is, there is no need to kiss your amazing idea good bye.
All you have to do is go to the nearest Fab Lab.
… But wait?
What exactly is a Fab Lab?
Do we have one in Lebanon?
& How can you as an entrepreneur, freelancer, student, artist, or stay-at- home buddy benefit from such a facility?
What Is a Fab Lab?
Before defining what a Fab Lab is, it’s important to note that the concept of Fab Labs started out as an educational outreach component of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. The Center for bits and atoms is an interdisciplinary initiative that explores the boundary between computer science studies and how to turn data into things and things into data.
In a nutshell, a Fab Lab is a digital fabrication laboratory, a place where you can play, create, learn, mentor, and invent. Not only that, but it’s a place which allows you to CONNECT with a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators. It’s a knowledge sharing network that spans around 78 countries in 24 times zones.
Do We Have One in Lebanon?
“It is equipped with an array of flexible computer- controlled tools that cover several different lengths scales and various material with the aim of making almost-anything; its capabilities are endless”. Khalil
So What Are Its Capabilities?
Its main capabilities include: Digital Modeling Tools, Digital Fabrication Tools, and an Electronics Workbench.
Digital Modeling Tools
Its digital modeling tools consist of all software for 2D and 3D modeling as well as PCB design (Printed Circuit Board) design for electronics.
Digital Fabrication Tools
Its digital fabrication tools consist of 3D printers for fast prototyping and producing designs in a fast and effective way, as well as 3D scanners, and CNC machines.
3D Printing Technologies
- FDM printers use a thermoplastic filament heated to melting point and then extruded layer by layer to create a 3d object.
- SLA (Stereolithography) printers, on the other hand do not use molten plastic to construct an object. They use a UV laser that hardens a UV sensitive resin to do the same.
Compared to FDM , SLA is faster, and more accurate. It also comes at a higher average cost compared to FDM printers. FDM is popular in the automotive industry ( Hyundai, Lamborghini, BMW) as well as the consumer goods manufacturing industry ( Nestle, Black & Decker); whereas, SLA is popular in the dental, and jewelry industry.
The below video showcases their differences:
– 3D Scanners, CNC machines ,Cutters & Beyond
Berytech Fab Lab also has a high precision and precise 3d scanner used to scan existing objects in order to reduce the time needed for designing existing parts.
It also has various scales of CNC (Computer numerical Control) machines:
the Shopbot (3 axis CNC machine) & the Desktop CNC machine.
The Shopbot produces large scale 2D or 3D objects from digital designs in various forms (Wood, PVC, Foam, MDF…), while the Desktop CNC machine is involved in small scale machining, and PCB (Printed Circuit Board) production. A vacuum forming machine is also available to create molds of whatever you want be it wax, resin, chocolate, or any castable material other than metals.
Add laser cutters, vinyl cutters and power tools to the mix, and the opportunities of carving, and engraving anything can be achieved.
The laser cutter cuts plastics, thin metals, foam, wood, glass, and other material, while the Vinyl cutter cuts the shapes and letters of logos, stickers, and flexible PCBs.
Its Electronics Workbench
Its electronic workbench has various tools needed to design, build, and test your circuit. You can find everything from:power supplies, oscilloscopes, inputs outputs as well as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, NI MyRio, and low level micro-controllers…
How Can You Make Use of All This?
Well, you can certainly cater to your curiosity and pass by the Fab Lab any time from 9 till 5 PM. The Fab Lab team will be more than happy to welcome you, support you and instruct you on the safety measures and operation measures you should take for each machine.
You could even choose to attend one of the workshops Berytech Fab Lab offers among many others that are regularly being updated.
Below are a few to check out:
- Introduction to Arduino
- Introduction to Rhino 3D Modeling & 3D Printing
- Photoshop for Architects & Interior Designers
- Introduction to Adobe Illustrator Workshop
If however, you wish to go the extra mile, you can apply to the Fab Lab Academy.
The Fab Academy is a 5 months global practical course on digital fabrication and on making almost anything. You can check its Facebook page or enroll before December the 25th, 2018.
” The Fab Academy allowed me to shift careers. I was working in the Fabrics industry before I enrolled. Now, I am the community coordinator at Berytech Fab Lab. I want people to know of the amazing opportunities digital fabrication has to offer. As community coordinator of Berytech Fab Lab, I want them to know the Fab Lab is here to bridge the gap between the general public and state of the art digital fabrication technology and tools that make anyone capable of making almost anything.
Our team is here to teach, support and show everyone how to unleash their creativity. Sometimes it only takes a small spark of interest to innovate. It all started by attending a “Solidworks” workshop at the lab, and somehow I ended up here; it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. ” Ghassan Beydoun, community coordinator @Fab Lab
Again, workshop, academy, or simply a visit, it’s all up to you.
You can just pass by and ask for help regarding whatever it is you’re creating & if you need ideas on what to create, you can always check the sites Beydoun advises:
It’s worthy to mention too, that full yearly access to the Fab Lab has been priced in a way to incentivize and offer access to anyone. It only costs $50/ year for students, and $100 /year for professionals.
Also published on Medium.