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

Giant T Rex

A couple of weeks ago a few friends and I realised that we could make a giant T Rex!

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Exhibition Stand

Fab Lab were commissioned to make exhibition stands for The Manufacturing Institute's 20th Anniversary conference. They were great fun to make and a great personalised option for any event (and they're cheaper too!)

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Laser Cut Lamps

I was inspired by watching people using a variety of materials on the laser cutter but leaving behind the excess so I created these lamps.

Find out more

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.

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.

Book Equipment

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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

 
 

SPONSORSHIP

Do you want to sponsor the coolest homework in the world?

Here’s your chance to get behind a fantastic schools 3-D printing project.

Ultimaker 3D printers are one of the leading manufacturers of self-build 3D printers and the brand has captured a prominent position within the competitive Maker industry.

They fit perfectly with the Fab Lab movement and Manchester and Ellesmere Port Fab Labs have teamed up with Ultimaker to create a school project with a difference.

 

EVENTS

Do you have a brilliant product idea? Maker meet-up

Call For Entries

Do you have a brilliant product idea?

Product innovation fund Win up to £65K and a place on our 20 week bespoke support programme to help bring your product to market

Design Council Spark is a new kind of product innovation fund to uncover the UK's next great inventions. Applicants must be aged 18 and over and based in the UK. Your product prototype or idea should be primarily physical and will be judged against the following criteria:

Market need: Does it meet a clear and compelling user or market need?
Business viability: Will it generate financial value to build a sustainable business?
Technical feasibility: Can it be developed to at least a working prototype with 20 weeks?

Price: Free Event

Stay ahead with New Product Development

Fab Lab Manchester

5th March 2015

Held at Fab Lab, a revolutionary 3D design and make workshop, this course highlights how to improve and advance your product offering through original thinking.  During the day you will experience and understand how to generate a culture of creativity that will embed innovation across your company.

Price: £200.00

Stay ahead with New Product Development

Fab Lab Manchester

24th June 2015

Held at Fab Lab, a revolutionary 3D design and make workshop, this course highlights how to improve and advance your product offering through original thinking.  During the day you will experience and understand how to generate a culture of creativity that will embed innovation across your company.

Price: £200.00

 

BLOG

At Fab Lab Manchester there is always something interesting going on. We run courses and workshops, often appear at events across the North West, and even have a hand in creating fantastic community projects.

We also have some amazing and inspiring users whose stories we hope will give you the inspiration to get started on your own projects. So have a read and keep up to date with the latest going-ons at Fab Lab Manchester.

Do you have a brilliant product idea? Maker meet-up

08/01/2015 – 08/01/2015

Chips Building, 2 Lampwick Lane

Map and Directions | Register

Description:
Call For Entries
Do you have a brilliant product idea?
Product innovation fund Win up to £65K and a place on our 20 week bespoke support programme to help bring your product to market

Design Council Spark is a new kind of product innovation fund to uncover the …

Find out more

Wearable Technology Course, a review

We invited Michelle to share her experience of our brand new Wearable Technology Course – here’s what she had to say.

Find out more

So what happens during a Fab Lab open day?

I went to find out.

Every Friday and Saturday the Fab Labs in Manchester and Ellesmere Port throw their doors open to anyone who wants to try and make something.

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.