Maker spaces, hacker spaces, fab labs, open source. All very inspiring stuff. People coming together to share ideas and create something out of nothing. Yesterday, despite soaring tempratures outside, I decided to sit inside and listen to Jeroen de Boer give a talk about all of this. ( in dutch) I gobbled it up. It’s hard to explain why I get so excited about it. It may be because at the heart of it is the idea that sharing your ideas and knowledge for the good of everyone.
If you have an idea for making something you can draw something up and go to a maker space or fab lab, work out the design together and just make it using 3d printers, vinyl cutters, laser cutters and things like that. (I would go to my local one Proto Space in Utrecht) If you have something made, the only thing you pay for is the cost of the material and there are no patents or trade marks, because If you let everyone use and build on your ideas it’s easier to make them even better. This may seem a little counter intuitive or naive. You have to trust in people’s good intentions, but It’s good that there are people who believe in this.
Some of these places even have a video link to other maker spaces around the world so that if there is an event in Nairobi or Chicago or London or wherever you can connect and maybe join in and help.
Jeroen was at our library, because libraries are great places for fab labs. Libraries have easy access to information and people who are trained to help you get the most out of them. Libraries are good at facilitating things. If you have printers and scanners, why not laser cutters and 3d printers? By facilitating people you make them part of the library’s collection.The prospect of interdisciplinary collaboration is also very exciting.
And it’s already happening in university libraries. Well, one at least. There is a fab lab in the UL of Aalto in Finland.