FabLab Devon, in association with FabLab Plymouth at Plymouth College of Art, is offering a range of free FabLab digital fabrication laboratory workshops to members of the public, in FabLab Devon, which is based at Exeter Library, beginning on Monday 30 November.
The workshops will offer an introduction to FabLab processes through the use of cutting-edge technology such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, laser cutting and 3D design.
This is an excellent opportunity to find out first-hand about the potential offered by 3D printing and FabLab technology. All materials and expert tuition are provided for free but there are limited spaces available at each 2.5 hour session, which must be booked in advance online.
A free adult beginners Design Your Own Furniture session will run on Monday 30 November, from 2pm until 4.30pm, at Exeter Library, followed by a free adult beginners Design Your Own Jewellery session on Thursday 10 December, from 4pm until 6.30pm.
The final session, aimed at beginner eight to 16-year-olds, is a Make A Look-Alike Marionette Puppet class that will run during half term on Tuesday 16 February, from 1pm until 3.30pm, at Exeter Library.
The three sessions in Exeter Library are part of a county-wide collaborative project, funded by Devon County Council. A total of 50 free FabLab taster sessions will be held in primary schools, secondary schools, FabLabs and public libraries across Devon, from Plymouth to Seaton to Barnstaple. The sessions will all be led by FabLab Plymouth manager Ian Hankey, from Plymouth College of Art.
Also an award-winning designer and Master Glassmaker, Ian said of the workshops: “The work being done in FabLabs around the world utilises cutting edge technology, but people shouldn’t be intimidated by that idea.
“I manage the FabLab at Plymouth College of Art now, but a couple of years ago I’d never used technology like this.
“My background is in hot glass blowing, which is a simple process that hasn’t changed in over 2000 years. Using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) is completely different, because there’s a computer interface between you and the end result, but the results can be spectacular.
“Anybody familiar with the technology can use it to replicate seemingly clever objects, but I try to teach people to be comfortable enough with it to use the technology creatively,” said Ian.
“We’re living in an age where you could build your own 3D printer for as little as £350 and run it on free open source software, so the barriers to 3D printing aren’t as high as they might seem. Obviously there’s a limit to what I can teach in an introductory session, but I want people to experience for themselves how easy it can be, so that they’ll feel comfortable visiting their local FabLab to learn more.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter from Devon County Council said: “These free courses will offer an important opportunity for schools, the public and businesses to learn about the possibilities of relevant technologies such as 3D printing. Devon County Council set up FabLab Devon and are funding this current project in recognition of the importance of digital skills to our economy.’’
Participants in the Design Your Own Furniture session will be guided through a range of basic 3D CAD skills, using plywood and a pre-set furniture design to manipulate and personalise an item of furniture by adding shapes, text and patterns. As part of the workshop the furniture will be cut from plywood using the CNC Router and constructed to take home.
Participants in the Design Your Own Jewellery session will use design software to manipulate images and create their own piece of jewellery, using features such as engraving to personalise an acrylic piece and fastenings to attach individual acrylic components together to make something bigger. There will also be opportunities to add holes using hand tools or to heat the acrylic to manipulate its shape once printed, creating a completed piece of jewellery that participants can keep.
Children and young people participating in the Make A Look-Alike Marionette Puppet session will capture images of their own faces using a 3D scanner. The image will then be converted into a digital pattern that is sent to the CNC milling machine. While the face is carved from polystyrene, participants will construct marionnette bodies using laser cut components. As the marionette takes shape, strings will be added to control the puppet, before adding the sculpted face to create a finished 3D look-alike puppet from polystyrene, plywood, wire and string, which participants can keep.
FabLab Devon is on the ground floor of Exeter Library, next to the Business and Information Hub. It is the first FabLab to ever open in a UK public library.
FabLab Plymouth is based in and run by Plymouth College of Art, a specialist independent art school that offers a range of Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Pre-Degree study across Art, Design and Digital Media.
(from a press release)