The STEM East Network recently hosted Fleet Readiness Center East (FRC East) to introduce its new mobile fabrication lab otherwise known as the FAB LAB to a group of educators in the region. FRC East is one of the first sites to receive a FAB LAB which is part of a larger effort within the Navy. The program is designed to help bring ideas from artisans, marines and students to life using 3D technology.
While the primary focus of the lab is for use in training and modernized repair technology exposure for military maintainers, the FAB LAB will also be deployed to encourage work force development and introduce future designers and engineers to the excitement of watching their ideas take shape. The 10’ by 35’ lab is equipped with a variety of hardware, software and tools designed to help participants shape their ideas into a finished product. Some of the tools included are; laptops with open source design software, 3D scanners, laser cutters and printers, band saws, and drill presses.
Students in surrounding schools stand to benefit greatly from using the FAB LAB. The lab provides exposure to technology and, more importantly, practical utilization of that technology. A teacher or a group of teachers along with the engineers from FRC East can develop a lesson or opportunity within their curriculum where the FAB LAB provides hands-on experiences that strengthen the overall lesson.
“As a large employer and a “consumer” of the product of the education system – the students - bringing this technology and the creativity it sparks as an active partner in classroom curriculum is a perfect extension of our efforts to ‘Grow Our Own STEM Workforce’”
Due to its mobility, the FAB LAB can be on-site for a multi-day duration as time and scheduling allows anywhere within the 11-county STEM East region. Additionally, the lab can be deployed to schools during career fairs, STEM nights, robotics competition, or other events where education is a focus to broaden exposure to families and community members as well. “Schools are creatively scheduling the FABLAB to support STEM education in their district as well as across their communities” said Bruce Middleton, Executive Director of STEM East. “Its an amazing resource providing multiple educational opportunities.”
To schedule the FAB LAB at your school contact Ms. Bettina Jahr. Her e-mail is Bettina.firstname.lastname@example.org. Her office number is 252-464-9164.