What is Fabville?
Fabville is a fabrication space within Somerville High School aiming to complement the collection of professional, semi-professional, and artist-focused spaces already available in and around Somerville. With a focus on education, design, and entrepreneurship, the Somerville Fab Lab is focused on engaging people in the creative process of design and prototyping, using its tools and resources to support, rather than drive, that creative process. This means, unlike many such spaces, we are not focusing on supporting small businesses or simply providing tools for small-scale manufacturing but instead on making available a design and entrepreneurial mindset and approach which can be meaningfully engaged with computation and fabrication equipment.
Where is Fabville?
The Fabville Fabrication Laboratory is housed at Somerville High School in one of the Advanced Manufacturing studios as part of the SHS Career and Technical Education Department. Advanced Manufacturing classes and other SHS classrooms take advantage of this innovative space during school hours for hands-on, creative learning. To get here, enter on east campus (library side) and go down the stairs past the gym to the Voc-Ed wind and FabVille is the last door to the right!
What is a Fab Lab?
Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow's personal fabricators.
Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.