A fab lab is a space equipped with machines (laser cutters, milling machines, 3D printers, etc.) where anyone can come to build or repair anything they want. In Detroit, an American city that was hit hard by the economic crisis, these fab labs are becoming a lifeline for the city itself.
Opened in 2012 with funding from the Ford Motor Company, the 1,500 m2 “TechShop” gives DIY enthusiasts a chance to bring their ideas to the workbench. For their part, Ford employees are encouraged to participate and to forge new synergies with these clever outsiders. It’s win-win: the company has succeeded in reducing its R&D costs while increasing the number of patents filed, and the DIY enthusiasts, the makers, continue to have access to the company’s equipment and know-how to help them develop their own solutions and emerge from the economic crisis.