Building a mobile fab lab
From Fab Lab Wiki - by NMÍ Kvikan
- Mobile classroom – Contains equipment, workstations and space to work.
- Equipment transport – No space to work, Equipment and workstations are on wheels and must be moved into a building in order to use.
- Hybrid – Contains space to work, but the equipment and workstations are on wheels so that they can be moved into a building if desired.
- Motorized (e.g. ice cream truck, mobile home)
- Trailer – need tow vehicle (e.g. NASCAR trailer, semi tractor-trailor, etc.)
- Other – cargo container, boat
Electrical power options:
- Plug in at host location (120v single phase, 240v 3-phase, etc)
- Solar panels and batteries
- Ethernet – Internet access, file sharing, video conferencing
- Internet (VOIP)
- Ventilation for laser
- Vent outside (possible obnoxious smells, loose heating / cooling)
- HEPA filter (caution filters are expensive)
- Filter and vent outside (loose heating / cooling)
- Heating and cooling
- Lighting – task, general inside and outside
- Dust collector for Shopbot
- Security – easy to lock securely to prevent un-authorized use and/or theft of equipment, computers, and supplies.
- Mobility – easy to transport, easy to secure equipment, computers, and supplies.
- Fire extinguishers and smoke alarms
- Insurance – damage, theft, and liability
- License plates
- EPA testing
- Weigh stations
- Gas for generator
- Cost of transportation
- Storage cost when not used
Benefits of mobility:
- Can bring to people in their own environment
- Effect more people
- Connect to isolated people / areas
- Marketing / Outreach
- Advertising (giant moving billboard)
- Fairs and special events
- Useful for scouting out and testing possible markets / locations for permanent lab.
- Useful for determining needs and shaping objectives for permanent lab.
Questions to be asked:
- When will it be used?
- How often will it need to be transported?
- Will drivers need special training/certification and/or insurance to drive?
- How long will it stay at each location?
- Will internet, water, etc be available?
- Will electrical power be available (120v, 240v, single phase, three phase, sufficient amperage)
- For the lab to be useful trained staff will be needed at each location or will have to travel with the lab.
- If the lab will be time-shared or passed off between locations, it will be hard to deal with inventory.
- Someone has to schedule lab transportation, usage, equipment maintenance, licensing, ordering, etc.
- 4’ x 4’ Shopbot Buddy instead of standard 4’ x 8’ Shopbot – lighter, more rigid, and uses less space
- All-in-one printer
- Laptop computers instead of desktops
- Extra laptops
- Roll out awning (like on campers) – provide protection from sun and weather and additional workspace.
- Screen door and screened enclosure for back gate to keep bugs out.
- Extra door for good flow and egress
- Sound insulation
- Power monitor / power filter
- Vacuum to aid in clean-up
- First aid kit
- Security alarm system
- Plenty of storage (lockable?)
- Keep trailer weight to a minimum
- Only carry materials needed
- Consider using pre-packaged instead of a complete inventory
- Don’t exceed weight limits
- Built-in leveling / stabilization jacks
- Paint with automotive paints and clear coat to protect.
- Pick equipment and wire for single phase low voltage only?
- Wire so that lab can run on single phase low voltage only if necessary.