You are on the front wave of a new, international movement in personal digital fabrication. The least expensive and fastest method to get a FabLab is to buy and assemble it yourself. This approach does require that you have some expertise on hand to help you set up, install, debug and train. There are other ways to set up a Lab, but they are more expensive and require some contractual transactions.
Here’s the road map:
- The inventory of hardware and materials that they deploy in the US for a full FabLab can be found at: http://fab.cba.mit.edu/about/fab/inv.html . This is the entire list of equipment, tools and consumables for a research grade FabLab. A FabLab currently comprises from £30-£80k in capital equipment and about £10-£25k in consumables. The open source software or freeware we typically use can be found at the Fab Academy class site: http://academy.cba.mit.edu/classes
- Fab Foundation UK can be your one-stop-shop when setting up a FabLab, and we have partners all over the world who can help. While we can’t do an over-the-phone consultation to get you started, we will have plenty of resources here online. When you join please tell us what other resources, besides funding you might find useful. The Fab Foundation here in the UK is designed to be a resource for advice for setting up, FabLabs, training managers, sourcing difficult to access Fab supplies, general FabLab mutual support, a portal to advanced technical education, and eventually, an umbrella for suggesting potential funders to communities who want a FabLab and meet the Fab Foundation UK ethical criteria.