A few months ago I received great news that changed my professional life. I won a Leonardo da Vinci sponsorship for a three month internship in Seville. Happy, and a bit nervous, I immediately researched career opportunities in line with my profile that this city could offer. I have a degree in Urban Planning, I have a master's degree in Digital Architecture and a special interest in digital fabrication. Thus, I found that inside the ETSAS (Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura Universidad de Sevilla) there is a digital fabrication laboratory that, starting in 2011, is part of the Fab Lab Network as Fab Lab Sevilla.

Credit photo: Dyvik Design

In May I began my work experience as a trainee at the laboratory. It features CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines along with conventional machines such as sewing machines and other  equipment and materials needed. It is open to professors, professionals, students, children or whoever would like to use the space. In a digital fabrication laboratory the project and the process of production is conceptualized: digital drawings are directly sent to the CNC machine which interprets and produces them: cutting, milling and ultimately printing in 3D. The pieces printed are then assembled into the final product. Ideas take shape, they can be seen, touched, and smelled. That's what fascinates me most.

The Fab Lab Sevilla is a place for free experimentation where various workshops periodically take place in courses like digital fabrication or parametric design. One more wonderful initiative that the Fab Lab has started is the Fab Lab Kids. This initiative makes it so it’s possible for primary school students to have the opportunity to make their toys and to see their ideas become a reality. This new form of teaching is converting children into more active and creative people.

Credit photo: Clara Massetti

Four of the members of Fab Lab Sevilla attended the Fab Academy 2013, directed by Neil Gershenfeld from MIT. The course involved the development of projects such as electronics, microelectronics, molding and casting, DIY 3D printer, programming languages, 3D scans and 3D printings.

In addition to these activities, the laboratory is also involved in other projects such as the one that, thanks to the joint effort between the university, the laboratory and a technology company of Seville, has led to the construction of a device for the audio-visual communication between a public space in Cadiz in Andalusia and Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. This project, installed in December 2012 and that I've personally seen during a visit in the Andalusian city, has allowed two places to connect in real time through audio and video (more here and here).

In addition, the FabLab Sevilla is also, and above all, a laboratory at the complete disposal to university students. Juan Carlos, the laboratory technician, always says: "antes de todo vienen los alumnos" (students come first).

A project by FabLab Sevilla for urban spaces in Caceres. Credit photo: FabLab Sevilla

During the training period I have observed and learned so much. I had at my disposal devices and machinery that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I have experimented with Arduino, Processing, and with tools and software for 3D scanning.
I have learned how to use the various machines for digital fabrication (3d printer or laser cut) with different materials (ABS, PLA, plywood , plexiglass or cardboard).

I have developed skills in parametric design and in handwork. I have collaborated on the design and implementation of a bench made of lime sand and cork. I have attended Fab Academy lectures. I have learned how to materialize ideas from digital design to manufacturing through open technologies, collaborative and experimental along with developing a personal project using the Fab Lab resources. I met amazing people and I came away from the experience with a lot of ideas for the future.

 


Clara Massetti  has a degree in Urban Planning and is specialized in Digital Architecture. In 2011 she attended the first workshop in Digital Fabrication in Rome, it follows a special passion. Her professional website is www.happyaccidentlab.com.

 

 

Leave a reply