Digital fabrication workshop and mobile Fab Lab offer the chance to be inventors

Carnegie Science Center, The Fab Foundation, and Chevron have unveiled Fab Lab, the Science Center’s new hands-on digital fabrication workshop. Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center, in partnership with Chevron, will offer programming for students and the community this fall.

Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center joins a global network of more than 500 Fab Labs spanning 30 countries worldwide. The Fab Lab is a digital fabrication workshop and makerspace in Pittsburgh, helping to advance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, human-centered design, collaborative projects, and the creative economy. The Science Center will also operate a mobile Fab Lab, which will bring Fab Lab equipment to engage local schools and the community.

“Carnegie Science Center is thrilled to join the Fab Lab global network. We’re also honored to offer to Pittsburgh a place to dream, design, explore, and innovate,” said Ron Baillie, Carnegie Science Center co-director. “The Fab Lab will offer the opportunity for people of all ages to access high-tech resources that allow anyone to be an inventor or entrepreneur.”

This lab is made possible by a portion of Chevron’s $10 million commitment to the Fab Foundation, announced in 2014 at the White House Maker Faire, to build Fab Labs in areas where it operates in the U.S. This lab also is part of the educational outreach component of the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Fab Foundation is an extension of MIT’s research into digital fabrication and computation. Uniquely among the global network of Fab Labs, Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center will generate its energy from solar panels, thanks to the support of Pittsburgh Green Innovators.

“At Chevron, we believe investing in STEM is vital to innovation and creating good jobs. This then leads to economic growth and prosperity for the communities where we operate as well as our business,” said Linda Padon, general manager of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at Chevron. “We’re proud to partner with Carnegie Science Center and the Fab Foundation to open this Fab Lab to provide students and the community access to extraordinary hands-on learning and technology resources.”

“The Fab Lab enables us to further grow our partnership with formal educators, particularly for schools that don’t have these highly sophisticated digital fabrication devices,” said Science Center Co-Director Ann Metzger. “Fab Lab workshops are brimming with opportunities for learning, creativity, and innovation – key tenets of so many STEM jobs in our world today and certainly in the future.”

Equipment in both the onsite and mobile Fab Labs includes: 3D printers; laser cutters; ShopBot CNC milling machines; video conference equipment; electronics workbench equipment, including robotics; two mini-mill/3-D scanners; sewing/embroidery machines; and projectors and documentation cameras.

“We are committed to supporting education and workforce development needs in the Greater Pittsburgh region,” said Nigel Hearne vice president of Chevron Appalachian Michigan Business Unit. “This Fab Lab will provide opportunities to advance STEM education and give students resources to create, experiment, and innovate.”

Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center is located within the ground floor of Highmark SportsWorks? at the Science Center. Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center will welcome children and adults of all ages and skill levels. Special field trips and afterschool opportunities are being planned for school-age children, as is programming for the general public.

Carnegie Science Center's Fab Lab was in a pilot phase over the summer, during which staff were trained and professional development programs were offered to orient teachers on using the Fab Lab with their students.

About Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Founded by Andrew Carnegie 120 years ago, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums reach more than 1.3 million people a year through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.