State of the art addition to 300 year-old site.
The Ironbridge Gorge has been at the cutting edge of product design and development for over three hundred years and is famed for being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Now the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is keeping this spirit of innovation alive by becoming the first museum in the UK to have a Fab Lab, offering members of the public access to a state-of-the-art Fabrication Laboratory with digital production facilities and a worldwide network of support.
The first Fab Lab was the brainchild of one of the world’s top scientists and inventors Professor Neil Gershenfeld at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The initial concept was to provide the environment, skills, advanced materials and technology to make things cheaply and quickly anywhere in the world, and to make this available on a local basis to entrepreneurs, students, artists, small businesses and, in fact, anyone who wants to create something new or bespoke.
Since then Fab Labs have spread across the world, giving members of the public access to advanced technologies and expertise at a minimal price in order to make prototypes of their concepts.
The new Fab Lab in Ironbridge will be housed in Enginuity, the National Design and Technology Centre and it will contain an amazing selection of state-of-the-art kit including 2 and 3-D printers, a laser cutter, a CNC router, a Shop Bot, and a moulding machine, along with advanced materials. Users will also have access to a worldwide community and archive of information that can assist them in their design challenges.
Anna Brennand, chief executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust commented: “Ironbridge has long been known as one of the most innovative museums in the world and so it is highly appropriate that we should be the first museum in the UK to have a Fab Lab.
“The Fab Lab will be used for the first time at our Museomix event in November and will be available to school groups and members of the public to use in early 2014. We are very grateful for all of the advice and support that Manchester Fab Lab have given us and look forward to joining the global Fab Lab network”.
For further information about the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).