We have discussed FabLab a lot in this and our sister blogs ever since Eddie Kirkby's presentation at Daresbury:
- FabLab Manchester 16 July 2011
- The Manchester FabLab 5 Aug 2011
- FabLabs - Jane Keats on "Factories of the Future" NIPC Inventors Club, 7 Nov 2011
- FabLab Manchester: Introduction to Intellectual Property, 8 Nov 2011
- A FabLab for Keighley, IP Yorkshire, 9 Nov 2011
- FabLabs for Yorkshire: Progress Report 6 Jan 2012
- Liverpool Inventors Club Re-launch - Fabulous FabLab 28 Jan 2012
- Integreatplus's Learning Lunch: Refab Space and FabLab, IP Yorkshire, 24 Feb 2012.
We had a good audience which included Steve Bennett of Starchaser, wealth manager Richard Barnes of St James's Place, forensic accountant Michael Swift, Patent Librarian Ruth Grodner, patent attorney Tom Hutchinson, IP solicitor Michael Sandys and several young inventors.
Much of the success of the world's FabLabs derives from the links of the individual FabLab with each other and the fact that each of those local FabLabs has a network of local links with its own community. Many member of the audience had their own networks: the QualitySolicitors legal network in Michael' case, the PatLib network in Ruth's, potential investors in innovation in Richard's and so on. Much of the discussion after Haydn's talk focussed on how those networks could interact with Manchester FabLab's for ther mutual benefit.
Haydn gave us some news on the Keighley FabLab. He and Eddie Kirkby have been installing kit so it is likely to open very soon. Consultancy for other FabLabs together with training courses are services from which the Manchester FabLab derives an income. It does some prototyping and other product design and development work for which it charges commercial or near commercial fees in order not to undercut established businesses. The old chestnut that FabLab takes bread out of design consultants' mouths is nonsense. On the contrary, it helps to develop their market and provides useful basic training in additive manufacturing technologies.
The meeting continued at the Hanover Street Social which provides a phenomenal Mondays only offer of a starter and main course and a full bottle of house wine per person for £17.50. Now that is just the sort of innovation inventors need to get their creative juices running. So long as that offer continues that establishment is likely to be patronized by the club. The next meeting will take place on 30 April 2012. We shall announce the speaker and venue shortly.