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fab8nz from Object magazine 63

Fab Labs are an international network of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing workshops sprung out of a course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Every year they gather for a conference, and last year Object attended fab8nz, the eighth instalment held at Wellington, New Zealand’s Massey University.

An in-depth roundup of that conference was presented in the award-winning issue 63 of Object magazine in October last year, available as a free download for iPad or to see in full on this website.

With CTRL P: OBJECTS ON DEMAND currently in Object Gallery, the full series of articles on fab8nz are now collected here on Object Eye. Each heading after the jump will take you to that section.

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fab8nz Introducing Fab Labs

This article originally appeared in Object magazine issue 63. A list of all articles from fab8nz is available here.

In 2001, Professor Neil Gershenfeld founded the Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Developed out of CBA and his popular class ‘How To Make (Almost) Anything’ was a laboratory of machinery and technology, tasked with allowing participants to do exactly that.

With funding of the scale necessary to procure machines with titles like ‘Resonetics examiner laser micromachining station’ (a laser-based system designed to fabricate micro-machined components as small as one micron) came an expectation for social outreach. And so the first non-MIT Fab Lab (for Fabrication Laboratory) was born.

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fab8nz Conference

This article originally appeared in Object magazine issue 63. A list of all articles from fab8nz is available here.

Since first appearing at MIT, the global network of Fab Labs has grown steadily to, at time of writing, number 135 around the world. With increasing rates of expansion, this network is now perched on the precipice of an explosion. In the lead up to fab8nz, the eighth annual conference, forum and symposium in Wellington, New Zealand, the first of a planned 130 Labs opened in Russia. At the end of fab8nz, Wellington’s own, and the first in Australasia, was inaugurated.

But this is only a tiny snapshot of the planned developments. South Africa and Barcelona each have three new Labs on the way, taking their totals to ten and four respectively, and Israel are on the verge of opening two, one each for Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

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fab8nz Symposium

This article originally appeared in Object magazine issue 63. A list of all articles from fab8nz is available here.

On Monday 27 August, day six of fab8nz, a public symposium was held, bringing together speakers both physical and virtual from around the world. Eight hours of talks covered an enormous range of topics, divided into four sections addressing aspects around digital fabrication technology: Foundations; Implementations; Applications, and; Implications.

Foundations
The Foundations session zeroed in on the technologies around printing, from the potential of conductive inks to working with cells and genomes.

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Selling Yarns Conference 2013

Sandra Brown is Object’s Touring Programs Coordinator.

Here I am at the Selling Yarns 2013 conference at the National Museum of Australia here in Canberra, where they are celebrating the centenary of our nation’s capital.

This is the second conference I have attended and it is always wonderful to meet up with colleagues and our touring venues. It is a great opportunity to see what is happening in Indigenous crafts with attendees from every state.

First presentations covered the importance of the possum cloaks in eastern Australia and keeping the traditions and history alive. A presentation on the Tjumpi weavers from central Australia highlighted their use of the senses when making their works and harvesting the grasses around their homes.

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