The Fab Lab is fabulous! (part 1)

So now that you’ve met our heart, let’s meet some of the hands.

If you make things, whether of wood, metal, plastic or cloth - the Fab Lab at Northampton Community College should be your home base. “Fab Lab” is short for “Fabrication Laboratory” - but I prefer to think of it as “The Lab of Fabulousness” - because it is! Fabulous things have happened in the Fab Lab since it opened in 2009, as a small wood shop on the third floor of NCC’s Fowler Family Center in Southside Bethlehem.

One shop became several, for woodworking, guitar building, wood turning, metal work, plastics, even 3D printing and audio recording. The Fab Lab’s director at the time, Jeffrey Boerner, had an knack for finding space in a former Bethlehem Steel office building - and there were lots of corners and cubbyholes that ended up as workshops for makers, for regular folks with creative dreams.

In 2019, the Fab Lab burst their seams and moved downstairs to their current first floor location. So much elbow room! But you’ve probably heard the saying: “Get a bigger house, get more stuff.” All that room meant space for more programs, more machines and tools, more ideas. Sewing machines, an embroidery machine, big printers that could print on all kinds of materials - all kinds of amazing devices began to pop up around the lab. Other college departments on the first floor began to fear for their own space - those Fab Lab people were always looking for yet another room to put yet another thing…

Jeff Boerner retired in December, 2019, but his dream lives on, with Sean Brandle, interim director, at its helm. We’ll introduce you to Sean, to Monica Beaky, and to Sean Kernan in a future blog post. In the meantime, check out the links below to learn more about the Fab Lab and what they do.

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