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By Gena Checki
Fab Lab program coordinator Greg Herker, right, shows the milling machine to student Randy Quilling.
Are you interested in changing the world with an idea or invention? If you are, you might consider attending a Fab Lab program or getting a Fab Lab membership. Fab Lab originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where professor Neil Gershenfeld wanted to provide widespread access to modern means for invention.
There are now more than 100 Fab Lab locations worldwide, including Gateway’s Industrial Design Fab Lab at the S. C. Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant.
Gateway’s lab, which opened last spring, is open to all Gateway students. All interested individuals must first take a $25 orientation and safety class. In addition to Gateway students, small business and industry employees can use the Fab Lab for various purposes.
Fab Lab can be used for projects such as design, prototyping and model making. Art students can use it as a creative medium. The lab also can be used to demonstrate parts or even for fun, to make items that aren’t destined to change the world.
“The Fab Lab is a place to bring your ideas to life - whether something small that you take pride in or an invention that changes the world,” said Greg Herker, Fab Lab program coordinator.
For example, Gateway students recently designed their own characters on the computer and used a 3-D printer to bring their characters to life. The 3-D printer uses a liquid and ultraviolet light to “print” as a complete, workable object. The Fab Lab also is equipped with a 3-D scanner, a milling machine and an Epilog Helix Laser/Engraver.
In addition to encouraging ingenuity, Fab Lab technology will soon be in most workplaces. And, Herker added, employers want students who are creative and innovative.
“The Fab Lab is a place to bring your ideas to life - whether something small that you take pride in or an invention that changes the world,” said Greg Herker, Fab Lab program coordinator