A high-precision laser machine produces both functional and beautiful items, making it one of the most used tools in a fab lab. Its ability to cut and engrave dozens of materials allows anyone with access to one to quickly go into production with whatever designs they can dream up. Thinking about a laser engraver for your fab lab or makerspace? Read on!
What is a Fab lab or Makerspace?
Simply put, a fab lab or makerspace is a small scale workshop where people from the local community come together to create and share knowledge. Whether one’s interests include woodworking, machining, ceramics, crafts, sewing, or anything else that involves creating something, there’s something for everyone.
What’s in a Makerspace?
A makerspace is usually equipped with a wide variety of CNC tools such as routers, mills, 3D printers, and of course, a laser engraving and cutting machine. What else is in a makerspace? Tons and tons of creativity, along with members who are eager to meet, collaborate, and socialize.
Whether your medium is wood, metal, plastic, paper, or fabric, fab labs and makerspaces make it easy to turn these everyday materials into something special. While Fab labs and makerspaces can’t compete in mass production (in terms of cost-effectiveness), they have a huge edge in giving access to a small scale means of production. This is ideal for people who can’t afford to mass produce their products and projects.
Customer Spotlight: Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub
We spoke with Joel Gordon, the director of the Launch Pad, a 6,000 sq ft. makerspace at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in Little Rock Arkansas. They offer classes for both adults and children in laser cutting and design, 3-D design, CNC, carpentry, welding, and much more. The Launch Pad also offers work space, design space, and a list of equipment far too long to list! Perhaps the most important machine available is AP Lazer’s SN4836 100w laser engraving machine. Joel had this to say about their AP Lazer:
“Our AP Lazer is easily the most used tool in our inventory. Whether making a simple engraving, or cutting a complex component in wood or acrylic, our members love the laser. It’s versatile, approachable and gives the user rapid results. Our laser class is now a prerequisite to our CNC class. The laser gives the students an opportunity to develop “Design Thinking”. It helps to teach an understanding of the X, Y, and Z axes without learning a complex operating system like our CNC router. The variety of materials it can cut and engrave is amazing. We use it to make trophies for our after school students, summer camps and robotics competitions.”
He also says:
“Being our most used tool, the laser has to be reliable. It runs great and the few times we have had an issue that required repairs, we contacted customer service and they resolved the problem.”…
“Our laser class is always full, in fact, we are hoping to purchase another AP Lazer in the near future.”
“We are currently using our AP Lazer to create plaques for the local Ronald McDonald House supporting the families of patients at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.”
Thanks, Joel! We’re glad you like it. If you’d like more information about the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub you can find their website at arhub.org.
I run a fab lab/makerspace, is an AP Lazer right for me?
Well in short, yes! AP Lazer’s patented open architecture offers users the most versatility and freedom. With little to no size or weight limitations, they can cut and engrave nearly any size item. Additionally, AP Lazer’s tech support is second to none and will offer you unparalleled customer service and support. Our laser machines come with on-site setup assistance and training, a 3-year parts warranty, 2-year tube and mirror warranty, 1-year lens warranty, and 24/7 technical support. All users gain instant access to AP Lazer University, an online portal for learning all things laser.
How can I find a Fab Lab near me?
The best place to start if you’re looking for a fab lab or makerspace near you by visiting the Fablabs map With over 120 fablabs in the US, there is bound to be one near you!
Have you ever been to a fab lab or makerspace? If so, what was your favorite tool available? Let us know in the comments.