(October 21, 2012) A team of educators, industry representatives, after school providers, and public officials are developing a digital fabrication studio (1 York St Newport, RI 02840 )) in the Florence Gray Center in the north end of Newport. (
Leading this initiative is Steve Heath, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1 York Street, Newport, RI 02840Learning Specialist, East Bay Met School. Steve has 15 years of program development in urban public, and private schools and can be reached at (401) 439-0160,
The Newport FabLab promises to serve as a catalyst for educational collaboration and industry participation by addressing disenfranchised and high achieving students of all ages.
Steve says that he is “committed to the ‘FabLab’ project because it addresses educational needs, business aspirations, community development opportunities and innovative ideas.”
What is a FabLab? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fab_lab
A FabLab 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”. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production.
While FabLabs have yet to compete with mass production and its associated economies of scale in fabricating widely distributed products, they have already shown the potential to empower individuals to create smart devices for themselves. These devices can be tailored to local or personal needs in ways that are not practical or economical using mass production
Popular FabLab equipment and projects:
Flexible manufacturing equipment within a FabLab can include:
- Laser cutter, plasma cutter, water jet cutter, knife cutter: sheet material cutting
- 3-axis CNC machines: 3 or more axes, computer-controlled subtractive milling or turning machines
- Rapid prototyper: typically a “3D printer” of plastic or plaster parts
- Printed circuit board milling: 2 dimensional, high precision milling to create circuit traces in pre-clad copper boards
- Microprocessor and digital electronics design, assembly, and test stations
The FabLab would serve youth, artists and businesses, CCRI students, adults interested in developing marketable skills, and Newport County technology companies.
The FabLab can provide Newport County residents with alternative pathways to Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) careers through mentoring and personalized education, as it links Newport County’s high-tech professionals from Raytheon, over 40 technology-oriented companies, and the Naval Undersea Weapons Center (NUWC) with area students.
Once fully developed, equipped, and staffed, the Newport County FabLab would provide:
· Classes and workshops for students and adults
· Daily after-school programs for middle and high school students
· Facilities to rent for local companies and entrepreneurs
· Classes in collaboration with CCRI, including a specific curriculum designed to enable high school students to get an early start on an Associate’s Degree in Micro Manufacturing or other high-tech subjects.
Our team includes:
- The Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School eastbaymet.org/
- The Newport Housing Authority http://www.rhodeislandhousing.org
- The Newport County Boys and Girls Club http://www.bgcnewport.org/
- Newport County After School Excitement (iNCASE) http://www.incaseri.org/
- Newport County CO-OP Mentorship Group.
We are presently seeking advisors to lend their expertise as we plan for a technologically savvy Newport County.