• Consultation bookings with the lab manager, which students and staff can do via the FabLab website to discuss the technical fabrication of their project. • Walk-ins for students and staff to purchase materials from the lab. One of the most impactful projects undertaken by the lab was in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak occurred. The lab fabricated 7 000 face shields for the Gauteng Department of Public Safety in two weeks. The sophisticated machines allowed them to mass produce the masks in a short space of time. The lab also offers training, says Denver. “In 2022, we will be offering a short 7-week learning course called Digital Fabrication Techniques, which will teach how to engage with and use computer numerical control (CNC) machines. It will teach an introduction to 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers. Then we also have a course called Parametric Modelling, which will introduce applicants to 3D digital modelling on a computer using algorithms.” The FabLab aims to become the first high-level art and design research fabrication laboratory in Africa that focuses on developing new transdisciplinary innovations, which can also feed into and catalyse curriculum development. It is a space where researchers and designers should engage each other and collaborate through projects, research, events and talks. The plan is to have the lab run workshops for high school students to encourage them to make the transition into our future designers; it wants to become the recipient of research grants from the government to engage in research and development and to support various state departments; it must become a space that exhibits new works annually; and one that catalyses critical discourse in design technology that attempts to solve global south problems practically and innovatively.
Denver Hendricks, FabLab Coordinator and Lecturer: Architecture at UJ’s
Connect with FAB-LAB: 4IR Innovation and Design
students’ work. Secondly, the lab has a research capacity to draw on researchers from multiple fields. This is important because the world is asking us to solve more complex problems, which require transdisciplinary input from various fields of researchers.”
There are a number of ways in which students and staff from different disciplines use the lab to collaborate: • Booking the facility for group workshops or individual project fabrication time. • Sending in their files for digital fabrication.
Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA). The FADA FabLab.
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