2008/08/11

Fab Lab track for BarCampMilwaukee

This is part 1 of an 8-part series about session tracks I'd like to see at BarCampMilwaukee, 03 - 05 October 2008:

Fab Lab: Innovation and Imagination

This blog post details thoughts relative to a Fab Lab track that we should make happen for BarCampMilwaukee, per my original post on the topic of proposed tracks for this tech unconference.

The Fab Lab to which this track title refers was brought to life by Dr. Neil Gershenfeld of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The original idea was a social experiment to use low-cost tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers and 3D scanners and open source software to see what people's imaginations would create when they were allowed to use these tools.

It would be great to see a session track at BarCampMilwaukee which explores all aspects of Fab Labs. Here is a certainly-not-exhaustive list of possible Fab Lab sessions:
  1. History and status of MIT Fab Labs (led by an MIT rep!)
  2. Fox Valley Technical College / MIT Fab Lab (led by an FVTC rep)
  3. Worldwide and Midwest Fab Lab networks
  4. EIGERlab Overview (led by an EIGERlab rep)
  5. Other Fab Labs (c0-led by reps from other 'fab labs')
  6. Rapid Prototyping (led or co-led by rep from MSOE Rapid Prototyping Center)
  7. Milwaukee Discovery World
  8. Blender and other open source 3D software tools (led be Blender guru or someone from Blender.org)
  9. Google SketchUp for use with Fab Lab (led by Google SketchUp team member)
  10. Solidworks and other proprietary 3D software (co-led by CATI rep and Solidworks rep)
  11. 3D printers (co-led by 3D printer manufacturer rep and a skilled user of 3D printers)
  12. 3D scanners (co-led by 3D scanner manufacturer rep and a skilled user of 3D scanners)
  13. RepRap: Open Source 3D printer (build a RepRap at BarCampMilwaukee!)
  14. TechShop: a Fab Lab Companion (led by a TechShop.ws rep)
  15. Milwaukee Fab Lab (extended workshop/session to discuss establishment of Fab Lab in the Milwaukee area)
  16. Advanced Manufacturing Fab Lab/TechShop Co-Working Center (discuss business models that could enable an EIGERlab like facility combining a Fab Lab, a TechShop, and a co-working facility focused on advanced manufacturing as well as complementary high tech start-ups and entrepreneurs)
  17. Hands on Fab Lab (workshop making things with Fab Lab tools, co-led by Fab Lab personnel and Make magazine reps)
  18. Maker Faire (led by Make Magazine rep, with some participants who will be at the 18 - 19 Oct 2008 Austin Maker Faire)
  19. Enabling Entrepreneurs with Fab Labs (led by Venture Center)
  20. Steps for launching a Fab Lab in your area
People interested in the concept of Fab Labs will be able to generate a list of 20 or 40 more cool sessions to add to the above list. Connecting with people potentially interested in this topic could result in enough participants to justify a separate track for Fab Labs at BarcampMilwaukee and might even catalyze a follow-up FabLabCampMilwaukee or FabLabCampMidwest.

Next steps to make this track a reality:
  1. Find three people willing to participate and lead Fab Lab sessions at BarCampMilwaukee
  2. Develop a list of contacts for the above tracks and email them to encourage leading sessions.
  3. Connect with Milwaukee area geeks and companies potentially interested in participating in the Fab Lab sessions.
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