I wanted a neat way to store and charge my laptop and the kids' tablets. I had some oak lying around, and wanted an excuse to try out the ShopBot...
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…
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!
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!
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.
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.
Aquaponics Technology Development Workshop
How do I... make custom Vinyl T-shirts
How do I... make custom Laser cut cards
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
Machine time can only be booked once you have completed a health and safety induction
You can either click on the “Add a Project” button on the homepage or you can upload from the My Fab Lab Page.
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!
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:
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.
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
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.
Designs and processes developed in the Fab Lab must remain available for individual use, although intellectual property can be protected however you choose.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.