MIT developed the computer-controlled machining shop
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Massachusetts Institute of Technologyâ€™s Mobile Fabrication Laboratoryâ€”Fab Labâ€”exhibit at Waubonsee Community College gave attendees a glimpse of the computer-controlled machining shopâ€™s ability to design and build just about anything the mind can imagine.
â€œThe Fab Lab turns concepts into reality and promotes science, engineering and math,â€ said Jeff Noblitt, Waubonseeâ€™s marketing and communication director. â€œIt benefits entrepreneurs and can help both the local and global economy.â€
Massachussets Institute of Technology PhD students accompanied the Fab Lab mobile to Waubonseeâ€™s debut at the Aurora campus on Sept. 3. Able to take ideas and create prototypes, the laboratory has such vast capabilities that Waubonsee is considering opening a permanent Fab Lab in its new downtown Aurora campus sometime in 2011.
â€œThereâ€™s currently no funding for the project, and the proposal is still outstanding, so the cost of the project is still undetermined,â€ Noblitt said. â€œWaubonsee is pursuing funding, though.â€
The recent Fab Lab exhibit came at no cost, as MIT financed the entire demonstration, Noblitt said.
Rep. Bill Foster (IL-14) helped Waubonsee arrange the Fab Lab visit.
â€œWe were excited to work with the city of Aurora and Bill Foster (to bring the Fab Lab to Waubonsee),â€ Noblitt said.
Foster was on hand at Waubonsee to introduce the Fab Lab the day before the exhibit at Galena and Stolp avenues.
The congressman lauded the mobile labâ€™s potential and capabilities.
â€œThe rapid manufacturing capability of MIT Fab Labs helps students complete the link between designing parts on a computer and holding finished parts in their hands,â€ Foster said. â€œThey can then incorporate those parts into their inventions, their works of art or new products.â€
Foster added that Fab Labs spread the means to innovate and produce real-world useful products like no other concept since the Industrial Revolution.