The mobile fab lab is a computer-controlled design and machining fab lab housed in a trailer. The first was built in August 2007 by the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The mobile lab includes the same computer controlled fabrication machines found in fab labs world-wide.
MIT Center for Bits & Atoms Mobile Fab Lab.
The fab lab trailer is a 2007 Pace American Shadow GT Daytona dual axle (model SCX8528TA3). It is 32′ long, 8′ wide, and 7′ high. The tailgate opens to add a 6′ deck at the back of the trailer. The main entrance is a door on the passenger side towards the front. A 6.5′ tall custom steel box covers most of the tongue. The lab requires a space approximately 60′ long by 16′ wide for operation as a lab. The power requirements are 240V single phase with minimum 40A service. To run all the equipment in the lab at once (including AC and overhead lights) is about 20 kW; to run only the 120V equipment is about 8 kW.
Two graffiti artists from the South Bronx were invited to design and paint the sides and top of the trailer in two weekends.
This lab contains custom cabinetry which is example of a lab producing a part of another lab. The cabinetry was CAD-designed and fabricated on a CNC wood router similar to the wood router in the trailer. The router in the trailer is capable of making another set of cabinets.
The lab debuted in August 2007 in Chicago, Illinois during The Fourth International Fab Lab Forum and Symposium on Digital Fabrication. Its maiden road trip from Chicago to Nevada to Boston included short visits to Black Rock City, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Nebraska State Fair, Burning Man and Gadgetoff at the Liberty Science Center.
The Mobile Fab Lab is available to organizations with mature fab labs already established in their region– to promote digital fabrication and STEM education. The Mobile fab lab does not have a staff, and so is not a turnkey proposition. For a community to host the Mobile Fab Lab requires that they partner with a local Fab Lab, or hire a Fab Lab guru from the network to operate the mobile lab. Funding is not yet available to support a stand alone Mobile Fab Lab Program. If you are interested in hosting (or supporting!) a Mobile Fab Lab program please contact MIT for schedule and details: [email protected]