FABLAB ULL is an open and multidisciplinary work-space to promote creativity through digital designing and manufacturing technologies, developing collaborative initiatives in support of the community.
The Digital Manufacturing Laboratory of the University of La Laguna (FABLAB ULL), located at the Fine Arts Faculty of our University, was funded in April 2014. FABLAB ULL is a collaborative and interdisciplinary work-space which is centred on the use of digital tools for designing and manufacturing. Artists, engineers, designers, architects, IT specialists and scientists from different disciplines, together with other people interested in interacting with these technologies, converge in this open and multidisciplinary work-space. We place special emphasis on exploring and developing creativity as a common tool for all these disciplines. We work on our own projects as well as on other collaborative projects with organizations and individuals who come to share with us their concerns and needs in the field of computer-aided designing and manufacturing. Our website (http://fablab.webs.ull.es/) displays some of the most representative projects we have developed, in different areas, in the last 18 months. From Physical Computing projects, based on Arduino technology, to the design of objects using CAD/CAM technologies, the multidisciplinary character of the professionals who have worked with us is crearly reflected. For instance, the work entitled "Artistic Casting of objects designed by computer, using polylactic acid as a substitute for lost wax casting" explored the possibility of combining traditional techniques of art with the use of new 3D designing and printing technologies. FABLAB ULL also develops an important formative role that seeks literacy of our community in the use of computer-assisted technology for designing and manufacturing. Our courses, addressed to both adults and school-age young public, are not necessarily geared to a specialized audience. We work with specific software, giving priority to the use of free and "open source" ones. Our main goal is to encourage the creative development of people and enable them to use these technologies as a tool to increase their degree of "autonomy and self-determination". Altogether, we contribute to the local development by fostering small economic projects which make use of these technologies. Over the past year, as a result of the interest created by the activity and production of FABLAB ULL, we have established new collaborations with scientists from different disciplines, such as Biomedicine, Palaeontology or Parasitology. These collaborations led to the creation of a new work-line in the field of Scientific Divulgation, both for specialized professionals and for the general public. We have therefore developed outreach and educational materials addressed to young people and the general public, by using 3D modelling and printing, in order to provide tools to facilitate understanding of different issues of a scientific nature. Among this work, we can highlight the project entitled "The Cell, unit of life", carried out in collaboration with teachers and science/biotechnology students from High Schools, following scientific guidance provided by our University and by Pasteur Institute (Paris, France). It consists of a 3D animation which explains, in great detail, the morphology and physiology of the cell, accompanied by a puzzle of a T lymphocyte elaborated by 3D printing. This project prompted us to create a section in our laboratory called "3D Virtual Lab". Within this section, we will develop different projects, in order to meet the scientific divulgation and teaching/learning needs of diverse scientific fields. Our geographical location in the Canary Islands, known for its rich biodiversity and natural heritage, motivates us to carry out projects to raise awareness on global environmental problems and promote initiatives of sustainable development. In this regard, in the near future, we will organize workshops on the concept of "Biomimicry" as an inspiration for projects, and to lay the foundations for future creative work and collaborations inspired by nature.