16 January 2012

FabLabs for Yokshire: Progress Report

On 9 Nov 2011 I reported that plans were in hand for a FabLab in Keighley (see "A FabLab for Keighley"). The consortium behind the project has just published a website at  http://www.fablabairedale.org so we now know a little more about it.

According to the "About Us" page:
"Fab Lab is the first stage of an ambitious project to create a Centre of Manufacturing Excellence within Airedale serving Bradford District and the surrounding parts of the Leeds City Region. Fab Lab Airedale is a collaborative venture between the Airedale Partnership, Bradford Council and Leeds City College, with support from The Manufacturing Institute. The Fab Lab Airedale will operate as a not for profit company limited by guarantee. Any profits generated through the running of the Fab Lab will be reinvested in the aims of the project which are to promote innovation and excellence within the local manufacturing and related sectors."
We also know that the FabLab will be located at Dalton Mills. I drove past the site on Saturday and was very impressed.

We still don't know when the Airedale FabLab will open. Early 2012 according to the website.   I called the number on the website this morning and was put through to a lady at the city council.  She could tell me nothing more than that it would be soon.

The next FabLab in Yorkshire is likely to be in Sheffield. A meeting took place in Sheffield in July 2009 at which Eddie Kirby of the Manufacturing Institute announced plans for a chain of FabLabs around the UK and this was confirmed by Professor Gerschenfeld himself when he was interviewed on BBC Radio on 14 Nov 2011. There was a vigorous debate on a FabLab for South Yorkshire in the Sheffield City Region Linkedin group before Christmas.  

Elsewhere in the country there appear to be plans for FabLabs in Brighton and Troon. All these projects are supported by a group of enthusiasts known as "FabLabsUK" who have set up a website and Meetup group.

As always, If anybody has any questions or comments, he or she can contact me through my contact formFacebook, Linkedin, Xing or twitter or call me on 0113 320 3232 .