Friday, August 7, 2015

Fab11 Fab FEST at the Reggie Lewis Sports Center

The Fab Fest was a public event at the Reggie Lewis Sports Center in Roxbury. This served the public outreach function for the Fab Lab mission, and at the Friday kickoff event the Mayor of Boston committed to become a sustainable city in the next 40 years.  Below are examples of projects presented at the Fab Fest and earlier in the week that show the actual products made by kids and adults.

This is the video of making a set of earrings (three pair) using a laser cutter to cut 1/8" acrylic.

This video demonstrates the flexible nature of a new 3D printing material. 

Fab11 Committee work and Report Out

Friday started off with a panel that included the US Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith, Representative Bill Foster PhD physicist who set up Fermilab, and Rush Holt, CEO for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Executive publisher for Science family of journals.

Fri - Conversations: Making Policy from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

This was followed by a review of the work of the various FabLab committees over the past year, as a precursor to meeting with those interested in a topic to plan the goals for the upcoming year.

Current state of the Fab Lab Network:

Fri - State of the Fab Lab Network from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

The committees met after lunch, and then reported back with their specific goals. I went to the education committee which focused on two areas, the educational outreach to teachers / schools / students and the education through Fab Academy, and the second part was on the development of the How to Grow Anything academy component.
It was a real discussion and collaborative process and we returned with some concrete steps with which to move forward.

Here is the afternoon report out of the committees:

Fri - Workshop Reports from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Fab11 Symposium at Symphony Hall

On Thursday the format and the location changed for the Fab 11 events. We moved from MIT to the Boston Symphony Hall. There were four panel discussions, all recorded and posted below for those who might be interested. The format was that each panelist spoke for 5 minutes, then after everyone joined the panel there was a 30 minute discussion led by a moderator.

Topic 1 : How to make Design
Moderated by the former head of design at Nokia
(The panel starts about 10 minutes in after Neil kicks off the day)

Topic 2: How to make Business
Moderated by
(Topic 1 and 2 here)

Fab 11 Symposium - Session 001 from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Topic 3: How to Make Tools
Moderator: Marty Culpepper, MIT Maker Tzar

Topic 4: How to make Research

(Topic 3 & 4 here)

Fab 11 Symposium - Session 002 from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Topic 5: How to make Community
Moderator:     CEO of Mozilla

Topic 6: How to make Education
Moderator: Stuart Kestenbaum, poet, artist & director of Haystack Mountain School Of Crafts for 26 years

(Topic 5 & 6 here)

Fab 11 Symposium - Session 003 from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Fab11 Afternoon Workshops Mon, Tues, Wed


While lunch yielded numerous conversations and connections, the afternoons were devoted to workshops.

Monday I attended the Fab Ed workshop which focused on the needs of the group, communicating via hangouts and monthly conferencing, options for future topics, and general collaboration.   The second half of the workshop focused on the website as a portal for potential lessons, lesson plans, examples of work done in classrooms, etc. The site itself was opened that day, and while uploads are possible at this time, we were providing suggestions for frameworks that might be useful, functionality we wanted to see, ways to search the database, etc.

Fab Ed  : In conjunction with TIES : Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM

Fab Ed Resources : work in progress for teachers to upload lessons, ideas, etc.

Tuesday I went to a session on documentation and sharing of projects. Hiroya Tanaka from Fab Lab Kamakura presented on a new platform for sharing projects, Fabble, which has a beautiful UI. Here's one example of a short project to make Google Cardboard.

One of the 2015 graduates of Fab Academy shared her portfolio process as an exemplar of creating informative, useful documentation for others to follow. This is Christina Aguilar's Fab Academy portfolio.

There was a second platform that is open source and able to be accessed when off line, with the goal to provide documentation for those in areas of the world with less reliable internet access. The concept was close to Github , with the ability to fork the projects and show the changes over time by various Fab Labs.

The late afternoon activities were cancelled when a weather cell passed over Cambridge with lightning, heavy rain, and hail - which posed a real threat to the tent in the quad, so everyone evacuated for the remainder of the evening.

Wednesday I went to a workshop / presentation by two guys from Autodesk. We looked at 123D Catch, a photogrammetry app for your phone for easy 3D capture (ie: scan), Tinkercad, and also Fusion 360

Fab11 What is it? Panel Discussions Mon, Tues, Wed

So what is Fab 11? It's an annual gathering (11th annual, hence the 11) of the International Fab Lab Network members. There are now about 500 fab labs around the world, in 55+ countries with the number of labs doubling every 18 months or so. This year it was held at MIT, the birthplace of the Fab Lab. The whole thing started in Neil Gershenfeld's Center for Bits & Atoms at MIT, with the How to Make Almost Anything class. (Watch Neil's TED talk from 2006 for the background on the concept)

The global network has taken the idea and expanded it to impact individuals, communities, businesses, collaborative research and projects around the world. The real impact behind Fab Labs is empowering people. As Neil has been quoted often, "The power of Digital Fabrication is social, not technical".

The conference itself was made up of three parts. The first three days were spent at MIT with morning organizational notes,  a noted speaker or two, presentations from fab labs around the world, and then a panel discussion of the best and brightest in three areas: Monday - Robotics, Tuesday - Entertainment/movies, Wednesday - Biology.  The panel discussions were AMAZING - mind blown - and worth the time if you have any interest at all in what is going on at the bleeding edge and what these minds see as on the near horizon for the future.

Making Robots

Mon - Conversations: Making Robots from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Making Movies

Tue - Conversations: Making Movies from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Making LIFE

Wed-Conversations: Making Life from Fab 11 on Vimeo.

Fab 11 Resources: Video of discussions, panel presentations, etc.

Fab Foundation : Global organization for all Fab Labs

Fab Ed  : In conjunction with TIES : Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM

Fab Ed Resources : work in progress for teachers to upload lessons, ideas, etc.

Other summer exploration


Visit to Weta Workshop, Wellington, NZ

My visit to NZ included a stop at Weta Workshop, the amazing design & fabrication studio for the entertainment industry. Most people know them for their work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or The Hobbit movies, but they have done so much more - go look at their site!!

While I couldn't take photos on the Weta Cave tour, I shot a few of things they have on display in their gallery and gift shop - originals from the movie as well as versions for sale (if you have significant resources to invest in such things).

They are using Maya to model things, then 3D printing or CNC milling to create models, then they refine it, get approval, cast it and then make injection molds for rapid production in the volume they need for a movie. The painting department work was amazing - everything that looks "aged" and worn is just a patina created from layers and layers of paint. The "rock wall" example was painted by our tour guide (experienced in "non-commissioned public artworks" prior to joining Weta), and he painted it in an hour. I think about the hours slaving over making rocks look like rocks for the theater tech work I've done, and my jaw dropped. He'd done it in an hour. Super close up, it still read "rock face".

While I was really impressed and excited by the tangibles made in the workshop - digital beginnings or hand forged metal - the CG aspects were touched on too. The creativity involved when writing the software to generate the visual effects desired is another part of the Weta genius.  Check them out.

Hobbit feet prosthetics

King Kong (it's not only Tolkien!)

Trolls from the Hobbit

 details . . .. all hand painted

Our new space

So, our building is up enough to take a tour! I had a walk through and got the lay of the land and took a few photos. Such a cool space! I can't wait to be teaching courses here next year.

Also, our new director, Mark Schreiber, visited for a week in March and we had some great team discussions around layout, furniture, materials, storage, machines, etc. The support of the school is amazing, and I feel really lucky to be working here, and with the amazing team we have of faculty working together.

Here are the docs we marked up as a result of our conversations.
HS / MS classroom spaces: 

The rooms below are the robotics room (left) and the more flexible, appropriately sized furniture, etc. space for K-5 elementary (right).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Even better - Fab Cafe Meetup the next day!

Daiki invited us to attend the Meetup at the Fab Cafe the next evening (2/24), so I opted to go and see what people were going to share. Such a fun couple of hours!

First, Daiki introduced me to Toshi, the "boss" at the cafe, who later introduced me to the two Autodesk Japan reps who were there. One of them does the workshops for their apps, and would be a great option to visit school at some point.

The presentations ran the gamut from wearable art of a more conceptual bent, to beautiful jewelry, to installations, to useful objects, to . . . well, lots of things!

There was a group of recent art school grads with a project called "Dialog" which included "secret sentence" jewelry, "conversation" necklaces of circles of acrylic with magnets, a dialog about the weather, and a touch concept that was wearable in two parts (over and under clothing) with magnets, and ripple jewelry (this all makes more sense with photos of the objects . . . )

Saori Kanihiro presented her writing earrings, beautiful thin brushstrokes of language turned into jewelry. presented about 3D printing and the printer kit he has available.

The MESH project, Make, Express, Share, from Sony, presented their sensors that have sort of scratch-like interfaces  - connective DIY kind of things that let you do all sorts of things pretty easily.

Last in the evening was the XSense presentation, which includes 3D CG, Projection Mapping, and 3D printing - the concept of boundary dissolution, boundaries between old / new, traditional arts / contemporary culture, etc.

 Here's the link to the page of presenters for the evening. Otherwise, here are some of the quick shots I took of presenters and things they shared.

Fab Cafe Shibuya: Best PD in ages . . .

2/23 was a PD day at school, and three of us were lucky enough to be able to travel to Shibuya to go to the Fab Cafe and meet with Daiki, who gave us a great overview of the space, tools and software one could use in the space.

We did quick hands on with AutoDesk 123D Make, 123D Creature, Adobe Ideas, and talked about 123D Catch, MeshLab for simplifying triangles, Grasshopper as the plugin for pyroetric modeling in Rhino, and other options like Modo (mesh), and 3DS Max, as well as Tinkercad and Sketchup.

We got to output a quick vector sketch to the laser cutter, in two versions of acrylic (two thicknesses, one also was a mirror).

We collaborated on a "creature" in 123D Creature and output that to the 3D printer.

Here's Dave getting scanned
We also got to play with the Sense 3D scanner  - first Dave got scanned, then I did. :)

Here I am, scanned! 
There are other options (this didn't have great resolution) such as the Makerbot digitizer, and the iSense for the ipad. Kids can also use 123D Catch on their iphone or android, which seems to have the same resolution (roughly) as the Sense scanner.

Here are a few other neat things we saw around and about on our visit:
showing settings with the laser cutter on acrylic

showing depth/darkness settings on the laser cutter

scale and resolution from the 3D printer