Fab Lab Bariloche

San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro

City public space

Opened in August 2015

Explored in December 2018


It is the Digital Manufacturing Laboratory of the city. It offers a collaborative workspace to design, experiment and carry out projects using innovative technologies. The laboratory aims to develop local and regional projects, offering the environment, the capabilities and the technology needed to design and produce prototypes using 3D printing technologies, laser cutting and engraving, CNC machining, and so on. It offers a favorable space for bonding and the exchange of experiences and knowledge of the community.

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This workshop is great for:

Students General public Makers pro Small & medium businesses Entrepreneurs

Our workshop

Learn more about our space, members, machines & services!

20 persons. It all started with emails, shared among this small group of inhabitants, passionate about Science and Technology, to end up with a makerspace at the heart of Bariloche, financed by the city and opened for free to everyone.

After 5 months of digital exchange to share their ideas, questions and projects, this team of 20 enthusiasts started to meet once in a week in a city hall booked by a member who worked for the municipality. When this latter announced to them the plan of the city to use a new fund dedicated to Technology for a cyber café, they worked together on a proposal to transform this idea into a makerspace. Their relationship with the government, their experience in technology and their knowledge of these new models coming from the MIT convinced the municipality who opened, 6 months later, the first public space dedicated to digital fabrication.

Their mission is to democratize access to digital fabrication to solve local problems, based on the value of collaboration and equity. If the space was at first mainly focused on science and technology, it progressively evolved, with the new profiles of users, to include also art and creativity in its scope. The mix of these two worlds opened them a new field of possibilities to design innovative solutions, where art reaches people and creativity transforms constraints into opportunities.

Despite financial difficulties, the team is positive about the future, supported by a growing and strong community that highlights the impact of such space to promote collaboration work and access to technology for facing the actual local challenges. Thus, their plan for the next years is to pursue their work of democratization and to maintain the space with the same spirit.

On the paper, the team is composed of 4 members:

  • 3 technicals, contracted for a renewable period of 6 months, to attract and support users
  • 1 administrator, employee of the city, who ensures the coherence of the Fablab activities with ones of the government

Now I introduce you to Peter Schwarzbock and Mariano Filippini the duo of industrial designers at the heart of the space. They were part of the original team of the 20 enthusiasts who proposed the Fablab project and worked 7 months as volunteers to make this dream come true. When the city asked their team who was interested to run the space, they were the only 2 members unemployed so they naturally applied and were selected. For 3 years, they are hired with 6-month renewable contracts and worked directly under the supervision of the general secretary. If this position provides them with the liberty to run the space, it delays also the decision required to adapt the strategy, to set up new activities or to simply buy new materials.

From an operational viewpoint, they are multi-tasks. They learned by doing digital fabrication, communication, community management and they are supported by Santiago, the administrator, and another technical member who recently quitted his job to move to Barcelona. They are looking to replace him for two new part-time profiles: one dedicated to the project management to help users apply funds and another dedicated to the communication to value the project achieved within the walls. Their philosophy is to stay open-minded, adaptive and collaborative. In this sense, they work in a horizontal way, discussing decisions and sharing daily works according to their constraints.

After 3 years of existence, the team met their goal and even overcame it, by gathering a diversity of users and building a strong community who took ownership of the space and wrote with them the story of the Fablab.

Students, teachers, entrepreneurs, companies, institutions, artists. Each day 20 persons crossed the door to enjoy one of the 3 complementary activities offered :

  • courses and workshops to learn digital fabrication and start making products
  • incubation support to develop ideas and projects. It starts with an assessment of the team to identify the technological, social or environmental interest and the resources that can be offered by the lab to transform it into a viable product. They train people to design a valuable product, to use the machines and they connect them to users or professionals with complementary skills and resources.
  • co-working space to work individually or as a team, to organize meetings with external counterparties or to make video conferences.

The ideal location, in the city center, near the living life, was a key success to attract users combined to great ideas implemented by the team. First, they hacked the building’s facade with artists to attract people attention from the outside pedestrian street. Then, they organized concerts, art expositions*, inspiring talks and debates to make curious and creative people do the first step in the space and start asking questions about its activities and purpose. The commitment of the team and the collaborative spirit they injected was viral and progressively users started to participate to the organizations of events, to the arrangement of the space and to the promotion through the social networks and word of mouth.

The Fablab is also located in an industrial and scientific region which brims with skilled freelances and in a city with plenty of workshops that offers services such as 3D printing, metal construction or casting services. Thus, as a public entity, the Fablab fosters the production of innovative solutions encouraging people to test simple but relevant ideas by prototyping and then they connect them with their red of freelances and workshops to transform their project into a final product. The objective is to fairly share the resources of the lab (the time of machines, the time of the team) among users projects and to rely on the external resources to go further.

For the future, they aim to increase collaboration with other makerspaces to share their experience and to work on common projects. They already worked with foreign makers who used the lab during when they lived in Bariloche for a short period of time and then keep contact with the team once they returned to their city. They are also looking to improve the collaboration with the Punto PYME which supports entrepreneurs with small or medium companies to develop their business model.

As a public space, the business model is simple: the city paid the initial costs (essentially machines) and finances the running costs (salaries, rent, material, communication). In exchange, the space is freely accessible to everyone and the employees should use it to promote digital fabrication and to impulse the creation of viable and local products with potential in technology, social or environment.

However, it hides a complex reality closely related to the elected government and its political strategy. The Fablab was created under a leftist government who invested a lot in education, science, technology and art. A year later, it was replaced by a right-wing government who cut all the budget related to these fields promoted by the Fablab. The space remains but with a minimal budget that only covers the wages and the rental fee.

The sense of belonging and commitment of the team and community allows the Fablab to survive: in the adversity, they joined their strengths and invested their time and money to equip the space with more machines, to build furniture, to organize events and to buy materials. However this situation is precarious and the team members still work in the space, even when they are not paid, thanks to their activity of freelances, as industrial designers, that enable us to earn a complementary income necessary to make ends meet every month. Nowadays, the team considers the space being used at only 40% of its potential due to lack of financial resources and lack of knowledge about the concept of makerspace and digital fabrication in the region. The question of building a private place is not relevant for now, they still need to work on the communication to make the place know and the spirits change.

20 persons. It all started with emails, shared among this small group of inhabitants, passionate about Science and Technology, to end up with a makerspace at the heart of Bariloche, financed by the city and opened for free to everyone.

After 5 months of digital exchange to share their ideas, questions and projects, this team of 20 enthusiasts started to meet once in a week in a city hall booked by a member who worked for the municipality. When this latter announced to them the plan of the city to use a new fund dedicated to Technology for a cyber café, they worked together on a proposal to transform this idea into a makerspace. Their relationship with the government, their experience in technology and their knowledge of these new models coming from the MIT convinced the municipality who opened, 6 months later, the first public space dedicated to digital fabrication.

Their mission is to democratize access to digital fabrication to solve local problems, based on the value of collaboration and equity. If the space was at first mainly focused on science and technology, it progressively evolved, with the new profiles of users, to include also art and creativity in its scope. The mix of these two worlds opened them a new field of possibilities to design innovative solutions, where art reaches people and creativity transforms constraints into opportunities.

Despite financial difficulties, the team is positive about the future, supported by a growing and strong community that highlights the impact of such space to promote collaboration work and access to technology for facing the actual local challenges. Thus, their plan for the next years is to pursue their work of democratization and to maintain the space with the same spirit.

On the paper, the team is composed of 4 members:

  • 3 technicals, contracted for a renewable period of 6 months, to attract and support users
  • 1 administrator, employee of the city, who ensures the coherence of the Fablab activities with ones of the government

Now I introduce you to Peter Schwarzbock and Mariano Filippini the duo of industrial designers at the heart of the space. They were part of the original team of the 20 enthusiasts who proposed the Fablab project and worked 7 months as volunteers to make this dream come true. When the city asked their team who was interested to run the space, they were the only 2 members unemployed so they naturally applied and were selected. For 3 years, they are hired with 6-month renewable contracts and worked directly under the supervision of the general secretary. If this position provides them with the liberty to run the space, it delays also the decision required to adapt the strategy, to set up new activities or to simply buy new materials.

From an operational viewpoint, they are multi-tasks. They learned by doing digital fabrication, communication, community management and they are supported by Santiago, the administrator, and another technical member who recently quitted his job to move to Barcelona. They are looking to replace him for two new part-time profiles: one dedicated to the project management to help users apply funds and another dedicated to the communication to value the project achieved within the walls. Their philosophy is to stay open-minded, adaptive and collaborative. In this sense, they work in a horizontal way, discussing decisions and sharing daily works according to their constraints.

After 3 years of existence, the team met their goal and even overcame it, by gathering a diversity of users and building a strong community who took ownership of the space and wrote with them the story of the Fablab.

Students, teachers, entrepreneurs, companies, institutions, artists. Each day 20 persons crossed the door to enjoy one of the 3 complementary activities offered :

  • courses and workshops to learn digital fabrication and start making products
  • incubation support to develop ideas and projects. It starts with an assessment of the team to identify the technological, social or environmental interest and the resources that can be offered by the lab to transform it into a viable product. They train people to design a valuable product, to use the machines and they connect them to users or professionals with complementary skills and resources.
  • co-working space to work individually or as a team, to organize meetings with external counterparties or to make video conferences.

The ideal location, in the city center, near the living life, was a key success to attract users combined to great ideas implemented by the team. First, they hacked the building’s facade with artists to attract people attention from the outside pedestrian street. Then, they organized concerts, art expositions*, inspiring talks and debates to make curious and creative people do the first step in the space and start asking questions about its activities and purpose. The commitment of the team and the collaborative spirit they injected was viral and progressively users started to participate to the organizations of events, to the arrangement of the space and to the promotion through the social networks and word of mouth.

The Fablab is also located in an industrial and scientific region which brims with skilled freelances and in a city with plenty of workshops that offers services such as 3D printing, metal construction or casting services. Thus, as a public entity, the Fablab fosters the production of innovative solutions encouraging people to test simple but relevant ideas by prototyping and then they connect them with their red of freelances and workshops to transform their project into a final product. The objective is to fairly share the resources of the lab (the time of machines, the time of the team) among users projects and to rely on the external resources to go further.

For the future, they aim to increase collaboration with other makerspaces to share their experience and to work on common projects. They already worked with foreign makers who used the lab during when they lived in Bariloche for a short period of time and then keep contact with the team once they returned to their city. They are also looking to improve the collaboration with the Punto PYME which supports entrepreneurs with small or medium companies to develop their business model.

As a public space, the business model is simple: the city paid the initial costs (essentially machines) and finances the running costs (salaries, rent, material, communication). In exchange, the space is freely accessible to everyone and the employees should use it to promote digital fabrication and to impulse the creation of viable and local products with potential in technology, social or environment.

However, it hides a complex reality closely related to the elected government and its political strategy. The Fablab was created under a leftist government who invested a lot in education, science, technology and art. A year later, it was replaced by a right-wing government who cut all the budget related to these fields promoted by the Fablab. The space remains but with a minimal budget that only covers the wages and the rental fee.

The sense of belonging and commitment of the team and community allows the Fablab to survive: in the adversity, they joined their strengths and invested their time and money to equip the space with more machines, to build furniture, to organize events and to buy materials. However this situation is precarious and the team members still work in the space, even when they are not paid, thanks to their activity of freelances, as industrial designers, that enable us to earn a complementary income necessary to make ends meet every month. Nowadays, the team considers the space being used at only 40% of its potential due to lack of financial resources and lack of knowledge about the concept of makerspace and digital fabrication in the region. The question of building a private place is not relevant for now, they still need to work on the communication to make the place know and the spirits change.

Our best practices

The inspiring things we do here to run our collaborative space

Offer cultural activities to attract people

categories
Community Creating your workshop

What is it?

Cultural events organized in the Fablab to raise awareness about the existence of the space and its activities.

In concrete terms?

The Fablab Bariloche organizes cultural events such as art exposition, concerts, debates on actual society topics and talks about user passions such as fishing every week or according to the opportunities to make people do the first step in the place. Through this events, the inhabitants become familiar with the place and start to ask questions about digital fabrication. It enables the team to progressively share the philosophy of a makerspace and its potential. Eventually, they offer us to participate for free to courses or workshops to learn digital fabrication or to just come to work on their project in the co-working space.

Why it’s interesting?

Even if cultural events are not directly linked to digital fabrication it’s a great way to :

  • cultivate the collaborative and human spirit of the space,
  • make users contribute by sharing their passion during talks and concerts,
  • make the place known as a public space open to everyone,
  • break the apprehension or prejudice people can have about a makerspace (only made for experts or geek, should have a project to come, …).

Introduce art into the makerspace

categories
Space organisation Creating your workshop

What is it?

Filling the space with art, either by decorating walls or by organizing events to value it and looking for synergy between art and technology among people and projects.

In concrete terms?

Even if art and creativity were not part of the Fablab strategy at the creation, more focused on science and technology, the team progressively welcomed artists in the community and discovered the potential of mixing the profiles and creating synergy between technology and art. An evidence of it is the decoration of the place, starting with the main façade full of art, which attracts people attention from the street. Inside, the photos and paintings that cover the walls also give to the space a soul, a human touch, feelings such as creativity or positivism. Then, art can also be found in the project. For instance, for each anniversary of the Fablab, they transformed the CNC in a robot painter that draws for hours a big and meaningful painting completed by artists. Eventually, they used art to give to users another perspective, see problems in a different way and try to be creative to find simple and effective solutions.

Why it’s interesting?

Bring art and creativity into a digital and technological place opens a world of possibilities, creates collaboration among the members and confers a soul to the place.

Contact : fablabbrc@gmail.com

Our makers projects

Get inspired by the DIY projects of our team & members

Cross strike - Tricycle for summer sky trails

It is a tricycle which allows everyone to carry on descending the ski trails during the summer.


A jigsaw to become a monk again

It’s an educational project where 3D printing skulls of real ancestors are used to teach human evolution. First, students have to order the skulls in the timeframe and to share with us their hypothesis. They can manipulate the skulls, measure them and exchange about their assumptions within their team. All the team share their proposition and hypothesis, they all discussed it and try to convince each other with their arguments and eventually we showed them the reality and explain them the specificities and clue to find the real order. The idea is to involve them from the beginning, as archeologists, to appropriate the principles.


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