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New maker lab just fab for Lake Mac creatives


Smart Cities Lead Claire Chaikin-Bryan uses the Fab Lab's new 3D printer

A Hunter-first new facility in Lake Macquarie is set to provide a cutting-edge space for people of all ages to create, invent, learn and innovate.

 

Opening Friday evening, the digital fabrication laboratory, or ‘Fab Lab’ for short, joins a network of more than 1700 similar venues in 100 countries across the globe.


“This is the latest example of how we’re embracing innovation here in Lake Mac,” Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said.


“It’s the first Fab Lab for regional NSW, and will provide access to the skills, materials and advanced technology to allow anyone to make almost anything they can dream up.”

The new facility, at the Swansea Centre building that already houses Swansea Library and SEEN@Swansea, will include a variety of equipment for digital fabrication prototyping, as well as a program of activities for learning, sharing ideas and collaborating on global Fab Lab challenges.


Equipment includes a 3D scanner and printers, a laser cutter, computer-controlled cutting and engraving machines, a green screen room, vlogging equipment, virtual reality headsets and high-powered computers for game design, graphic design and rendering.


Lake Macquarie City Council Smart Cities Lead Claire Chaikin-Bryan said the new Fab Lab would provide a hub for local innovators to come together, filling a gap in the region’s ‘makerspace’ market.


“This is an opportunity for us to build a network of local innovators, and to really nurture that concept of collaboration and knowledge-sharing,” she said.

The Fab Lab was jointly funded by Council and the NSW State Library.


“This is another way that public libraries can support creative people in local communities, enabling access to the latest technology,” State Librarian John Vallance said.


Access to the Fab Lab will be via public workshops, open days or the ‘Lake Make Club’ membership program.


Ms Chaikin-Bryan said the program had options for hobbyists, commercial users, students and families.


“Casual access options are also available for people who just need one-off access, or who want to try things out before they commit to a longer-term membership,” she said.


Friday evening’s opening marks the start of Lake Mac STEAM Week, a program of activities and events focusing on core themes of science, technology, engineering, art and maths.


Go to library.lakemac.com.au to find out more about the new Fab Lab.

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