About Us

What are Fab Labs?

Fab Labs – digital fabrication laboratories – were set up to inspire people and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new products and prototypes by giving them access to a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology.

The idea was conceived by renowned inventor and scientist Professor Neil Gershenfeld at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), here. His idea was a simple one: 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.

Fab Lab Manchester

The UK’s first Fab Lab opened in Manchester in March 2010. It is owned by The Manufacturing Institute, managed by its technically-skilled staff and based in the iconic Chips building in New Islington, Manchester. Find out about other Fab Labs in the UK and around the world.

At the heart of Fab Lab Manchester is digital manufacturing technology, combining 2D and 3D design with the latest fabrication technology. Embracing a broad spectrum of methods ranging from CNC machining to 3D printing, it can produce a single unique product from a digital design in a matter of minutes and at a very low cost in comparison to traditional tooling methods.

To date, 3,000 small manufacturers, inventors, schools and community groups have used Fab Lab Manchester with a wide range of products having been conceived, developed and prototyped there.

To find out more, download our Fab Lab Manchester brochure or watch our short animated film “A Fab-ulous Future”.

You can also view some of our products and ideas or contact us directly.



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  • Professor Neil Gershenfeld, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    “Fab Labs give people the tools they need to create technology and make (almost) anything.”

  • Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable, Minister of State for Business

    “There is a wealth of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the UK, as demonstrated by the Fab Lab. It’s important we nurture this talent to give both people and businesses the added boost they need to turn ideas into real commercial ventures that support growth.”

A Fab-ulous Future - What is a Fab Lab?