FabLab Experience: The world’s largest mobile digital laboratory comes from the Czech Republic
A laser cutter, 3D printers, a robotic arm, and other instruments – all items that for many seem taken straight out of science fiction. Yet all of them have been loaded into a specially designed trailer that has been making appearances all over the country, primarily at schools. In terms of equipment and size, labs like these are very rare and this one is the largest of its kind in the world. The JIC visionaries behind it have taken their idea abroad as well, and their first stop was the Maker Faire Festival in Vienna.
The first, stationary digital workshop in the Czech Republic (FabLab Brno) opened its doors to the public at JIC in Brno almost two years ago and nearly thirty schools have visited it since. Tours and workshops were so packed, in fact, that the FabLab guys decided to create another version on wheels. And thus FabLab Experience was born. Now the lab-on-wheels visits students of all ages directly at their schools. It also attends various festivals here as well as abroad, and the first one is the Maker Faire Festival in Austria. “Our research shows that in terms of size and equipment, there’s no larger mobile FabLab. It’s a true rarity and we’d like to show it around – and not only in the Czech Republic,” says Tomáš Mejzlík, FabLab Brno manager.
The people from FabLab want more than just to introduce this mobile digital lab to as many people as possible: they also offer their experience in designing, constructing, and operating a digital lab. “FabLab Experience is regularly invited to visit Czech schools. The lecturers arrive in the truck and usually spend three days there explaining how the modern instruments work and what they can do. The students attend a training session and create something they can keep to remember the experience,” explains Daniel Šín, FabLab Experience manager. Associated organizations, companies, and private individuals can hire the mobile digital lab (along with its Czech- & English-speaking team) for several days.
The truck with a trailer of around 44 square metres provides facilities for two lecturers and modern equipment with ten instruments:
- Laser cutter
- 3D printers
- Robotic arm
- CNC cutting machine
- Cutting plotter
- Electron microscope
- Electrical and mechanical worksho
FabLab Experience was opened on February 25, 2019:
- 1,500 kilometres traveled
- 3,000 visitors
- 80 school visits per year
Another big festival for FabLab Experience will be Maker Faire Brno, held at the Brno Exhibition Grounds on October 19–20 and co-organized by the people from FabLab Brno. And they’re going to make sure that makers see and learn the most important things from the industry. Check out www.fablabbrno.cz/made-in-fablab, where you can already see examples of the most interesting projects.
It cost 8 million CZK to construct the mobile FabLab. Partners provided equipment for 2.5 million and the South Moravian Region and the city of Brno made substantial contributions as well. The digital lab-on-wheels was also sponsored by the Brno University of Technology (VUT), ThermoFisher Scientific, Honeywell, and AT&T. Among other supporters are Portiva, Vodafone, Trilab, Prusa Research, Aubo, and Schunk.
Follow FabLab Experience:
FabLab stands for “Fabrication Laboratory” and refers to a place equipped with computer-controlled machines that can produce a wide range of products. FabLab Brno is a part of a global movement whose members – called “makers” – aren’t satisfied with the ready-made products they can buy in shops and have decided to develop and produce their own products, tailored to their needs and share their improvement procedures with each other. Over 1,500 certified laboratories in more than 100 countries are members of the movement. Only the laboratories meeting the following three requirements may officially call themselves FabLab:
- To have specific equipment (3D printers, laser cutter, CNC cutting machine, drill, grinder, and other hand-held tools);
- To share their know-how related to the production procedure of their products with the global community;
- To make the laboratory accessible to the general public.
Contacts for media:
Ivana Malá, JIC press secretary, phone: +420 737 549 742, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Šín, FabLab Experience manager, phone: + 420 607 893 538, email: email@example.com
Tomáš Mejzlík, FabLab Brno manager, phone: +420 725 960 702, email: firstname.lastname@example.org