ABOUT

At Fab Lab Manchester, we offer a creative space for budding product designers and entrepreneurs to test out their ideas and bring them to life.

Our open access Lab offers the latest in digital fabrication equipment along with a friendly atmosphere where like minded people can build, code, solder, design and engineer pretty much anything they can think of. And we have highly trained staff on hand to help you with your project, whether it be something for your home or a brand new product you want to prototype.

Since opening our doors in March 2010, over 11,000 individuals have visited Fab Lab Manchester to create new products and prototypes ranging from musical instruments and furniture, to jewellery and artwork. Our Fab Lab Manchester community has now grown to around 1,800 registered users, who regularly use our facilities to build their knowledge and skills, and to design and create products and prototypes with the help of our friendly volunteers and highly trained staff.

If you have the idea, then we have the means to make it happen…


 

PROJECTS

- Self Lighting Purse -

I always struggled to find something in my purse in dark places, so I usually ask someone to turn the tourch on with their mobile phone and point it inside my bag, so I could find the thing I was looking for!

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Laser Cut Wedding Invitations

Invitations can cost upwards of £3 each which is a little to much out of our wedding budget so we decided to have a go at making them ourselves!

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Made to Measure Desk

My 12 year old son had outgrown his small desk and needed more space for his computer and homework. So we decided to use it as an excuse for a joint project to test our Fab Lab skills and use the ShopBot to make a new L-shaped desk designed to fit the bay window in his room.

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Customised chalkboard

A few months ago I saw people on Pinterest making all sorts of amazing things with Chalkboard spraypaint, and so thought I would have a go making a custom chalkboard, and so can you!

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Add a Project

 

EQUIPMENT

Fab Lab Manchester has a range of state of the art digital manufacturing equipment including 3D printers,  precision laser cutters and moulding and milling equipment through to electronic components, circuit boards, soldering irons and glue guns.

Our equipment can be booked (for free!) every Friday and Saturday, all we ask is that you pay for your own materials and share your makes via our project section.

Book Equipment

Before using our equipment you will need to complete a health and safety induction, which take place at 10.30am and 12.30pm every Friday and Saturday. You do not need to book, simply aim to be here on time and we can take it from there.

You can also hire our equipment, or even the whole lab,  Tuesday to Thursday. Just speak to a member of the Fab Lab team about our rates.

Speedy300

Trotec Laser

The Trotec laser is a laser cutting machine and also has a very powerful raster mode for engraving and etching designs.

Model: Trotec Speedy 300 Laser Cutter

Materials...

View & Book Trotec Laser
3d printer

3D Printer

Our 3D printer has a large build capacity, giving you the room to print large functional, durable models with moving parts.

Model: Dimension...

View 3D Printer
large format printer

Large Format Printer

Print high quality large format prints up to A0 using our HP Designject printer.

Model: HP Designjet T520

Paper Types: Bond and coated paper (bond, coated,...

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ultimaker 2

Ultimaker 2 3d Printer

The Ultimaker 2 has the quickest build time of any of our 3d printers.

Model: Ultimaker 2

Material: ABS and PLA plastic

Build Volume: 23 x 22.5 x 20.5...

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ultimaker original 300x200

Ultimaker Original 3D Printer

The Ultimaker Original allows you to 3d print at speeds of up to 300mm/s.

Model: Ultimaker Original

Material: ABS and PLA plastic

Build Volume: 21 x 21 x 20.5 cm

Print...

View Ultimaker Original 3D Printer
heat press

Heat Press

Add your vinyl designs to fabrics, from clothing and soft furnishings.

Model: Heat Press XY-001

Material: For use with heat transferable vinyl

Max Build Size: 38 cm x 38...

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hot-wire-heat-bender

Hot Wire Strip Heater

Our Hot Wire Strip Heater can bend acrylic up to 10mm thick.

Model: CR Clare 600S Hot Wire Strip Heater

Material: Acrylic

Max Build Size: 600mm workable area

Max...

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Tools

Tools & Materials

At Fab Lab Manchester we have a range of tools and machines for our visitors to use free of charge and there’s no need to book either!

Workshop Tools &...

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embroidery machine

Embroidery Machine

Our embroidery machine allows you to add professional style embroidery to garments, accessories, home decor items and more.

Model: Janome Memory Craft 200e Embroidery Machine

Material:  all ranges or (embroidable) fabrics,...

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shopbot

CNC Router

Our CNC Router can be used to make  furniture, large 3D moulds and architectural models.

Model: ShopBot CNC Router

Material: wood, foam, aluminium, acrylic

Max Material size: 1.22m x 2.44m...

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Roland_GX-24_Vinyl_Cutter_02

Vinyl Cutter

The vinyl cutter is designed for the fast cutting of light flexible materials and can be used to make signs, t-shirt transfers, stickers, masks and flexible circuit boards.

Model: Roland...

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Desktop Miller

Desktop Miller

The Modela is a versatile all-in-one desktop 3D scanning and milling device, perfect for model and jewelery making, creating molds, and rapid prototyping.

Model: Roland Modela MDX-20 Desktop...

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Laser Cutter

Laser Cutter

The Epilog laser is a laser cutting machine and also has a very powerful raster mode for engraving and etching designs.

Model: Epilog Mini...

View & Book Laser Cutter
 

OUR SERVICES

For us to fund our free open days we offer a range of commercial services. Click on one of the icons below to find out more.

 

EVENTS

How do I... 3D model and print? April 2015

How do I... 3d model and print?


3rd April 2015 11:00 - 16:00


Learn the art of 3D printing and design at Fab Lab!

Price: £15.00

Young Fab Academy - Electronic Decision Maker

Fab Lab Manchester

Tuesday 14th April

The Challenge is to design and program a device that will help you make ‘ yes, no, maybe’ decisions by simply flicking a small coin-like electronic device which will then display the decision using LED's. Provides an introduction to 3D design and printing, soldering and basic programming for 12 -14 year olds.

Price: £40.00

Young Fab Academy - T-Shirt Graphic Design

Fab Lab Manchester

Wednesday 15th April

Learn how to use 2D design software to create your own custom graphics. We’ll then show you how to use the vinyl cutter and heatpress to secure your design to your t-shirt creating your own unique piece of clothing. Provides an introduction to 2D design and vinyl cutting (please note you will need to bring your own t-shirt).

Price: £40.00

 

BLOG

How do I… 3D model and print? April 2015

03/04/2015 – 03/04/2015

Chips Building, 2 Lampwick Lane

View MapMap and Directions | Register

Description:

How do I… 3d model and print?

3rd April 2015 11:00 – 16:00

Learn the art of 3D printing and design at Fab Lab!

Find out more

The end of our wearables and e-textiles course but not the end of our wearables journey!

When we started our  wearables and e-textiles course, we were slightly nervous delving into the unknown world of incorporating technology with textiles. 6 months later, we all learnt so much having completed projects to take away as well as our floras, gemmas and lilypads to continue our wearables journey.

Some of our projects included Kajal’s bag for women which lights up inside when it is …

Find out more

 

 

CONTACT US

Fields marked with a * are required.

FAQs

How do I get to use the machines?

Machine time can only be booked once you have completed a health and safety induction

How do I upload a project?

You can either click on the “Add a Project” button on the homepage or you can upload from the My Fab Lab Page.

What is an open day?

At Fab Lab we run Open Days every Friday and Saturday. This basically means you can come in and use the lab… for free! We’ll give you access to all of our equipment including our range of 3D printers (we have a few!)

All we ask is that you register as a user prior to coming to the lab – you can do this by clicking the register button at top of the page – and attend a Safety Induction.

We run Safety Inductions daily at 10.30am and 12.30pm – there’s no need to book just turn up and we’ll do the rest. Everyone is welcome but if you’re under 16 you need to be supervised by an adult. We look forward to seeing you soon!

What is the Fab Lab Charter?

Fab Labs are a global network, enabling invention by providing open access for individuals to manufacturing equipment and digital fabrication facilities.

Everyone using Fab Lab, regardless of age, ability or what you are making, must abide by our charter:

Access
You can use the Fab Lab to make almost anything. The Fab Lab’s highly-trained staff are on hand to offer support and guidance but the emphasis is on you to learn how to make things yourself. You must also share use of the Lab with other users.

Responsibility
You are responsible for:
Safety: knowing how to work without hurting people or damaging machines
Cleaning up: leaving the Lab cleaner than you found it
Operations: assisting with maintaining, repairing, and reporting on tools, supplies, and any incidents

Education
Training in the Fab Lab is based on doing projects and learning from peers. Unless you are a commercial user, you are expected to share your ideas and to document your Fab Lab experience by uploading your project to our Project Forum.

Secrecy
Designs and processes developed in the Fab Lab must remain available for individual use, although intellectual property can be protected however you choose.

Business
Commercial activities can be incubated in Fab Labs however they must not conflict with open access and should grow beyond, rather than within, the Lab. They are expected to benefit the inventors, Labs and networks that contribute to their success.

What time are the health and safety inductions? And do I need to book?

Inductions take place on both Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30am and 12:30pm. There is no need to book just aim to be here on time or you might miss it.

What software should I use?

The aim of Fab Lab is to have open access for all, therefore we use freeware software to create files in the lab. Anyone can download and learn to use these programs at home for free. For 2D Design we use Inkscape and for 3D design Google Sketch-Up.You can also use your own preferred software as long as files are saved in the correct format.

2D Design files = PDF/DXF (with vector data not picture data, e.g. illustrator file not photoshop)
3D Design files = STL

Do you provide materials?

We stock a small amount of acrylic, MDF and plywood in various sizes and thickness, all of which can be purchased in the lab on the day. Please note that stock levels do vary and you should call ahead to check we have the material in stock if your job depends on it. You are also more than welcome to bring your own material with you as long it is machinable.

e.g Only laserable MDF can be used on the laser cutter, normal MDF will not cut correctly.

I’ve got an idea for a commercial product; can you help me make it?

Yes we can, but it is not a free service*.

At Fab Lab we offer a professional prototyping service during the week (Tuesday-Thursday). We have a small skilled team with qualifications and experience in mechanical engineering, product design and electronics. We use our own in house digital fabrication machines to tackle a wide variety of projects. If you are interested in making a commercial prototype at Fab Lab please use the contact us form to arrange a meeting.

* Please be aware although Fab Lab is a non-profit project, prototyping services and machine hire are revenue making in order to enable us to run our free public open days every week.

Why would I pay to use the prototyping service if I can use the lab for free on open days?

There are two main differences to be aware of when using the lab on an open day:

Firstly, everything made in the lab must be written up and posted in the project area of our website. All details of the project must be disclosed along with attached design files and machine settings. This supports our goal of creating an open-innovation environment in which users can learn from each other. If you are looking to commercialise a new product idea this full disclosure open-source condition may jeopardise your chance at IP (intellectual property) protection.

Secondly, on open days all project work is done by you. With the aid of tutorials and past projects you are required to teach yourself to use the necessary machines and software packages without dedicated staff time. You will also need to fit your work around other users in the lab, and as part of our fair-use policy you will only have access to one slot on each machine, per day.