A fab lab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering (personal) digital fabrication. A fab lab is generally equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”.
Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow’s personal fabricators.
Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytic instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.
Small business owner can use these labs to help develop their business, whether they want to create a prototype for a new product or if they just need a create a vinyl sign for their store front window.
You can check out Nebraska only fab lab by visiting https://www.facebook.com/mccnebfablab or to find a fab lab in your area visit http://www.fabfoundation.org/fab-labs