Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Mobile Fab Lab? 

A Fab Lab (short for Fabrication Laboratory) or a MakerSpace is a creative, open work environment. Fab Labs and MakerSpaces have lots of technology and tools and encourage participants to MAKE stuff, not just talk about it or think about ideas, actually make prototypes and solutions to real world challenges.  The educational theory of Making is that students should be doing and making things all the time to really learn content. This hands on approach to education is changing the way teachers, students, and parents think about school and learning.

The Mobile Fab Lab is a mini Fab Lab on wheels!  Our Mobile Fab lab is housed in a 28 foot long trailer and contains big technology machines including laser cutters, 3D printers, a ShopBot and power tools! It also has lots of electronics materials and other craft objects that are helpful for making.  Our Mobile Fab Lab travels around Ohio and around the Country visiting schools and showing students and teachers why hands on learning is so important and inspiring many to build a Fab Lab of their own!

  • Do I have to pay for the Mobile Fab Lab to come to my school? 

A Mobile Fab Lab visit to any CMSD school is free. The CMSD school is only responsible for covering the cost of the materials consumed on the visit.

Any NON-CMSD school or organization will be charged for a MFL visit as well as covering the cost of materials. Details will be provided after a request is made. Please have a budget in mind when requesting the MFL.

  • How can I schedule a MFL visit? 

Please check out the Request the Mobile Fab Lab page to learn more about scheduling a visit and requesting the lab.

  • Who runs the Mobile Fab Lab? Who will help the students with the MFL activities? 

The MFL is run by Sarah Wallace and Andrea Lane (learn more on the Fab Lab Team page) and student interns from MC2 STEM High School.  Either Sarah or Andrea (or both) will always be with the MFL on a visit. Depending on the activity, number of days and students Sarah and Andrea may bring one or two other adult helpers and one to four student interns to assist with the activities.

  • What kind of technologies are available on the MFL?

The MFL currently has two Epilog Laser Cutters, a Roland Vinyl Cutter, two Ultimaker 3d Printers and a ShopBot Buddy on the mobile trailer.  We also have additional machines such as a Modela Circuit Maker that can be brought onto the lab if needed. The lab also has a large amount of smaller technology tools including power tools, soldering stations, lighting and wire electronics that can be used for a Fab project.

  • What kind of Safety Measures are in place on the MFL?

There are power tools and other dangerous materials on the MFL, it is NOT a playground. Therefore, students and adults will be expected to adhere to the safety rules set by the Fab Lab team. If anyone does not follow the rules, they will be asked to leave the lab.

All participants must wear closed-toe shoes in the MFL. When told by a MFL team member, participants may also be required to wear protective eye glasses, ear plugs, and or gloves, depending on the activity.

  • Can my students use the machines on their own? 

No one is permitted to use the machines or tools on the trailer without supervision until they are ‘certified’ by a Fab Lab Team Member- this includes adults!  After you are certified on a machine you will receive a certification card that you can take to other Fab Labs!

  • How long can the MFL visit my school? 

The Mobile Fab Lab can do 1 day visits (without the trailer), or 3-5 day visits(with the trailer).

  • How many students can be in the lab at one time?

Depending on the age of the students, only 5-15 students can be in the trailer at one time.  The Lab can accommodate up to 30 students max at one time (using different stations in the lab and classroom.  Depending on the duration of the visit and activity chosen the lab can handle up to 4 classes per day with a short activity, or 1 class over an entire week for a more involved activity.

  • How long does a MFL activity take?  

Some activities can be done in an hour, others take 20 hours.  Depending on how long the Lab is at your school and the number of students you want to work in the lab, the Fab Lab Team will work with you to pick an appropriate activity.

  • Why are people taking my picture? 

The MFL Team wants to share the awesome stuff we make together! We love to tweet and blog about our experiences! By participating in a MFL activity, the MFL team has the right to take your picture while participating in the activity and use it for their own materials. We understand that some students’ guardians may not have signed a media release form, if that is the case we have blue paper bracelets for you to put on your students to signify to us that we should not take their picture.

Please contact us with any questions or for more information about the MFL : CleMobileFabLab@gmail.com

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