Our Mission: The USFLN is a connected network of Fab Labs who exchange knowledge, ideas, and resources to collectively empower people of all ages and backgrounds to experiment and invent new products to solve real world problems at local, national, and global levels.

Our Vision:  The USFLN will be known as a robust community of Fab Labs who have dramatically advanced interest and participation in science and technology careers, collectively created a new generation of entrepreneurs, inventors and artisans; and proactively reunited education and training, art and the artisan, industrial production, and personal expression nation-wide, – all contributing to the resurgence of American innovation.

Read our strategic plan

Core Values

  • Experimentation: We believe experimentation is the key to invention and overall economic sustainability for the U.S.
  • Hands-On Learning: We strongly value and support hands-on learning.
  • Open Access: People of all ages and backgrounds should have open access to space, equipment, and technology among people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Collaboration: We believe collectively, we can do more than any one can accomplish alone.
  • Problem Solving: We believe all people can help solve real world problems.
  • Empowerment: We strive to empower businesses, entrepreneurs, and the general public.
  • Creativity: We believe that all people have creative talent.
  • Achievement: We believe Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education can be fun and attainable for all, not just engineers and scientists.

Priorities

  • Establish a Robust Clearinghouse of Information to Support Fab Lab Growth & Development
  • Develop Educational Support Materials
  • Strengthen Communication & Interaction Among Fab Labs
  • Cultivate Collaborative Projects
  • Increase Visibility at Local, Regional, & National Levels
  • Research & Document Impact of Fab Labs
  • Grow Resources & Strengthen Network Administration

Julia & a Fab smile--2012 Aug 18

USFLN Membership Guidelines

A member of the USFLN is an individual and/or organization working collaboratively with the leadership and other members of USFLN.  In most cases, members have or are in the process of installing fab labs in their communities/organizations.  In other cases, however, where members do not have fab labs, the member is otherwise engaged in USFLN activities – on committees, providing resources to other groups, organizations, and individuals seeking information on fab labs – in addition to pursuing the development of a fab lab in the member’s community or organization.

USFLN Members are strongly encouraged to:

  • Participate in the annual USFLN symposium.
  • Participate in USFLN webinars and seminars.
  • Mentor other USFLN members who are planning or considering fab labs.
  • Make themselves available to be subject-matter experts to others.
  • Provide a nominal amount of time to the USFLN initiatives as required.
  • Share and offer advice and suggestions to others in project information (including instructions, plans, etc.).
  • Mentor other USFLN members who are planning or considering fab labs.
  • Attend the annual MIT global Fab Lab network meeting as often as possible.
  • Provide regular updates on your progress and activities to the USFLN executive leadership team for distribution to others.
  • Follow the MIT Fab Charter.

The [MIT] Fab Charter

Mission: fab labs are a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access for individuals to tools for digital fabrication. Access: you can use the fab lab to make almost anything (that doesn’t hurt anyone); you must learn to do it yourself, and you must share use of the lab with other uses and users. Education: training in the fab lab is based on doing projects and learning from peers; you’re expected to contribute to documentation and instruction. Responsibility: you’re responsible for:

  • safety: knowing how to work without hurting people or machines.
  • cleaning up: leaving the lab cleaner than you found it.
  • operations: assisting with maintaining, repairing, and reporting on tools, supplies, and incidents.

Secrecy: designs and processes developed in fab labs must remain available for individual use although intellectual property can be protected however you choose. Business: commercial activities can be incubated in fab labs but they must not conflict with open access, they should grow beyond rather than within the lab, and they are expected to benefit the inventors, labs, and networks that contribute to their success.

draft: August 30, 2007