Mentioned fab labs a while back and I noticed in the last few days there’s been a lot of buzz due to the release of a new book, Fab, by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. He teaches, “How to make (almost) anything,” which is exactly the kind of course I would have enjoyed when I was in school, of course, back then, our tools were, ah …, a bit more rudimentary.
Although the emphasis in these new discussions is sometimes on very high tech, they do talk about spreading building capabilities to those who formerly did not have that ability which is exactly the same idea I’ve had when we look at the high tech low volume manufacture of motorcycles. This kind of technology can lead to many more custom designs and personal ideas getting on the road, like Motoczysz and Confederate Motorcycles, and the gradual lessening of the need for pre made parts. Need something? Fab it up yourself. Guys used to working with metal, whether machining, welding, bending or shaping, will say they have always done this and they have, too, but the fab lab concept takes the mental image to 3D piece production process to an entirely different level.