There’s much talk these days about how “soft skills” are growing to be just as important than academic, technical skills for career success. The beauty of learning in a Fab Lab? You’ll acquire both! Here are five important “life-ready” skills students will learn in a Fab Lab: Resilience With 3D printing, Laser Cutting & Engraving, 3D Scanning, and CNC technology available at the ready students are able to tinker with designs and programs and make prototypes quickly and easily. This is a shift from the linear design approach of the past, that assumed that mistakes were expensive and need to be avoided. Failure becomes just a natural part of the process. This growth mindset allows kids the confidence to bounce right back from their design errors, and the liberty to learn from their mistakes. Altruism & Collaboration One of the Fab Lab charter values states “designs and processes developed in fab labs…should remain available for individuals to use and learn from.” This core principle of sharing helps foster an environment of giving to others in the community & collaborating together to make a difference. This “Sharing is Caring” outlook promotes a collective objective to improve other’s lives, through design and accessibility. Having 3D printers readily available encourages students to design and make custom solutions – on the spot – to provide help for challenges classmates and neighbors may face. Manufacturing & Lean Production What used to be only feasible in an apprenticeship or specialized vocational school, can now be taught in a Fab Lab. Access to a Fab Lab enables students to learn advanced manufacturing concepts and skills before they enter the workplace. With everything you need at your fingertips, Fab Lab users can learn to take a new idea all the way through the process of mechanical design, engineering, prototyping – even marketing it to be sold. Managing workflow in a Fab Lab teaches real-world manufacturing concepts that are applicable in today’s Industry 4.0 workplaces. “Design Thinking” & Process Design Thinking is a mindset and approach to learning, collaboration, and problem-solving. A Fab Lab is the perfect environment for cultivating design thinking in students. Like water and sunlight to plants, design mentoring paired with digital fabrication tools help students grow to thoughtfully engage in the design process. Good coaching provides students with the design vocabulary to communicate their ideas, along with the encouragement to engage in reflective and retrospective thinking about their process. The ultimate reward? Students ideas can actually come to life. Flexibility & Foresight What will the future of work & education look like? We’ve heard it said that “the most important skill to learn as you enter the job market is the ability to learn new skills.” There are many uncertainties, but the given is that jobs of the future will require versatility and an adaptable mindset. When students collaborate in a Fab Lab they learn to quickly adapt to technology and seek solutions to evolving challenges. Students in STEM programs with access to a Fab […]
AET Labs recently had the pleasure of hosting a bright young intern and budding engineer from Masconomet Regional High School here at our Essex, MA headquarters. Senior Tori LeClair came to us in early April bringing with her a sharp mind, a sweet disposition and an eagerness to learn about digital fabrication and the design process. Diving right in to the fab lab world, Tori began her hands-on training 3D printing student phone case designs for the Massachusetts Skills USA Additive Manufacturing Competition using our F370 from the Stratasys Design Series. Next Tori designed a sleek original trophy which would later be presented to the winners of AET’s annual New England Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. Drawing inspiration from Thingiverse, she came up with an innovative model of a moving gear on a pedestal. After several iterations and a half-scale prototype printed on a MakerBot Replicator she was able to bring the final product to life on the Stratasys Objet Pro, a little post-processing, and voila, three very cool trophies! The following week Tori was introduced to what would quickly became her favorite digital fabrication tool – the Epilog Laser System. She caught the laser bug and went wild designing a wooden ballot box, AET gear logo magnet giveaways, coasters, a letter holder, her laptop, sports memorabilia, her dad’s phone case and the acrylic face of a clock she designed using the DIWire Bender Pro. She became so adept with the laser system we assigned her to single-handedly man the Epilog station at Dig it. Fab it. Make it. where she gave demos and interacted with over 200 educators from across New England like a seasoned pro! Tori deftly managed each task put to her, mastering a multitude of new applications, software programs and techniques and quickly became an asset to the AET team. Following graduation, she plans to attend North Shore Community College in the fall and then transfer to an engineering program to finish her degree. When asked what’s on tap for the summer she replied, “I will be doing a lot of relaxing, taking a robotics class, working on cars with my dad, skeet shooting with my grandfather and relaxing some more!” Tori has been an absolute pleasure to have on board and we wish her all the best, for her future is most assuredly bright! Thank you, Tori!
AET Labs is delighted to announce the return of Dig it. Fab it. Make it. for 2019. Educators from across New England are invited to join AET Labs and our co-hosts Stratasys and GrabCAD on May 17th from 9:00 – 2:00 for this year’s Fab Lab & Makerspace Expo for Education at WPI. We have the utmost respect and admiration for you, our fearless STEM education leaders, and delight in giving back just a bit each spring with this fun, complimentary day of of professional development. If you’ve never attended Dig it. Fab it. Make it., then you’re in for a treat! We pair the hottest digital fabrication technology for the classroom with some of the sharpest minds in education alongside a group of ridiculously-bright and talented students for this very special day of STEM innovation, exploration and networking. Back by popular demand this year is our round-table panel and Q&A featuring a fabulous lineup of trailblazing New England STEM instructors. They’ll be sharing their best tips, practices and insights for successfully implementing digital fabrication tools into the classroom to enhance the learning experience for all. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement regarding this year’s panel and distinguished keynote speaker! Spots are still open for students to enter the regional Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. Students will again present and compete on-site at WPI as individuals and teams for the chance to bring home a MakerBot 3D printer along with serious bragging rights and some very cool swag. In keeping with our new tradition, we’ll again be awarding a second MakerBot 3D Printer to one lucky educator! Will it be you? Click here for details or to register. Click here for a look back at Dig it. Fab it. Make it. 2018. Read more about the New England Extreme Redesign Challenge.