We visited Fab Lab Taipei at the end of August, a time when the sun still hits the roads during the day, driving the energy of the city indoor, before it spreads out into the night markets after sunset. Fab Lab Taipei is no exception to this observation. Located in the CIT (Center for Innovation Taipei), the place looks like a well-designed anthill, with ants being replaced by designers, makers, artists and entrepreneurs, scattered across the 200 square meters building.
We met Ted, the founder, receiving us in the middle of a kids workshop on digital fabrication. Ted is an architect who used to study and work for 10 years in the United States. When he came back to Taiwan he noticed that no collaborative fabrication workshops could allow him to work the way he did before. So in 2013 he launched the first Fab Lab in Taipei. Machines and space where 100% bootstrapped with his own funds.
The purpose of Fab Lab Taipei is to invite everyone to join the maker culture. Hence the place is free for all, and anyone can come and use the machines. 10 volunteers are organizing daily shifts to run the place and 60 more are ready to help if needed. That is how this lab can be run without any membership fees.
During our visit we met Chen-Chien, who created and commercialized a connected donation box, or Tsai, a 16 year-old maker building his own ROS car. In the middle of the Fab Lab were 10 children building polystyrene helmets using laser cutters.
Today many makerspaces flourished in Taipei, but Fab Lab Taipei provides the most freedom to its makers. “We want to create a paradise for makers” says Ted with a big smile, that is why it will remain free and with as few rules as possible.