Insper Fablab

R. Quatá, 300 - Vila Olimpia, São Paulo - SP, 04546-042

School workshop

Space size 200 m²

Opened in June 2014

Structure type Private university

Explored in January 2019


We are the first Engineering school in Brazil to have a Fab Lab. It is a space where students come together for free to carry out digital manufacturing projects in a collaborative way, following the guidelines of the worldwide network of digital laboratories. From this interaction, everything is created: machines, robots, toys, games, models and more. And it's not just the students who can use our Fab Lab. Once a week, during an Open Day (1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m), we receive everyone who wants to know the lab and use the machines, free of charge, to create and produce their projects.

Main interests

Technology - machines & tools Education

This workshop is great for:

Teachers General public Students

The closest workshops nearby are:

Our workshop

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

Imagine yourself 6 years ago, with a huge amount of money and the mission to create a disruptive University. In the context of Brazil, with traditional universities based on theoretical courses, the meaningful and innovative approach was to design a project-based learning environment where the future engineers could build hard skills as well as soft skills through creativity, experience, and collaboration. In 2014, this project came to life under the name of Insper, with at its heart, one of the first Fablab in Brazil and the first in a Brazilian university.

The objective of this makerspace was to enable fast-prototyping to apply the FabLearn Labs methodology: “do it, discover the theory, then do it again”. Among the several other laboratories of the school (chemistry, physics, material sciences..), the Fablab aims to provide digital tools to make tangible products and to develop an entrepreneurship spirit.

5 years later, the makerspace is about to be transformed: its success and the new strategy of the university which propels more multi-disciplinary projects made in the lab launched a new chapter in the story of the space which will take place in a new environment. Located in another building of the school, it will benefit from twice the space with twice the amount of technologies and materials. However, its values remain the same (respect, collaboration, knowledge sharing and open-minded) to fulfill its missions for 2019 :

  • increase the number of projects
  • work closer than before with teachers to provide a higher quality of support to students
  • become a key partner for students association development
  • increase its participation in the Fablab network

Since its creation in 2014 by Vinicius Licks, the mechatronics engineering program director, the Fablab team has known 2 phases :

  • 2014 - 2016: the phase of discovery and experimentation. The spirit and the activities of the lab were launched by a fabmanager, assisted by two trainees, who were then replaced by a team composed of 3 technicians. Their role was to support students in their projects and to design digital fabrication courses based on tangible products. Progressively, as the students took ownership of it, the need for structure arose to optimize the use of the resources.
  • 2016 - 2018: the phase of structuring and professionalization. Daniel Krás Borges da Silveira was hired as a coordinator, in charge of the needs identification and resources allocation, and to settle safety rules and processes. He made a diagnosis of the situation in order to redirect the activities of the team to the ones linked that fit the core missions of the Fablab. It also enables him to hire a new technician to handle the workload achieved by the team. “The key success of a place is its people”. Aware of the importance of the team, Daniel benefited from an efficient recruitment process designed by the school, based on crossed interviews and practical exercises to hire a new member, with the relevant hard skills and soft skills.

Nowadays, Daniel can rely on 2 designers (Luís Henrique Fonseca Bueno and Leonardo Nazário Rosa) and 2 electronic engineers (Eliana Rodrigues Martins and Luis Henrique Miranda dos Santos¨¨) to give to the space its great and efficient atmosphere. This team is supervised by an academic teacher and completed by a passionate teacher, Víctor Cussiol Macul, who brings its expertise and ideas to transform and improve education. They work in synergy with the other areas of the school: the other labs such as the Tech lab to produce series of products, the dean to impulse prototyping for teachers or the communication department for events and social networks.

A “petit comité”, a weekly meeting, is valuable for the team to share their advancement, needs and help each other. Daniel shares the big projects depending on the members’ skills but the operational tasks are often distributed among the team with video game score.

« Make your question better» is the key question used by the team to foster students’ reflexion. They have to support students but also to challenge them and being able to say “no” when they ask for help. Indeed, this key point is excepted by teachers who designed their courses in order to make students learn through failures and researches in their projects.

Eventually, all the members are yearly evaluated by the others through 360° interviews and each semester by the students and teachers.

The Fablab was designed to be a hands-on space where :

  • teachers from all fields designed tangible products for their project-based courses and receive on-demand training
  • students learn by doing the scientific careers, the design, the digital fabrication and the collaboration through compulsory Fablab courses, multi-disciplinary projects, and team projects for specific courses
  • former students perform their professional projects, showing the examples to students
  • the general public come to use freely the machines, to inspire and open the mind to students

The community of students counts 200 members who come regularly in the lab. It started with engineering careers such as electronics and mechatronics, who represent the majority, but it progressively includes business, administration or economist students. All of the students have to achieve a Fablab course, called “Design Nature course” where they learn a new workstation during each session and have to make a lamp in a team. This mandatory course provides them with the basic knowledge to use the space and start building their own project. Some of them come back to make their own lamp, others carry on by taking an elective course called “Business administration fundamentals” where they have a pitch a business model based on a prototype made in the lab. In any case, the occasions to come back are numerous either to make a project given by a teacher or to enjoy a workshop designed by the Fablab team. Every year, about 50 projects are made in the Fablab.

The general public can freely benefit from the space on Thursday, between 1 pm and 7 pm, and from the team support to be trained on a machine or to develop their project. Designers and architects, including students in architecture from other schools, are mainly represented. They are looking for a free space to prototype their idea and discovered the space either by word of mouth or through Google thanks to the good referencing.

The lab plays also a major role to gather students and companies on a common project. The university offers many occasions for them to meet companies, such as Intern summer program or elective courses like “problem efficient resolution” where they have to choose among a problems portfolio the one to tackle and make a prototype in the lab during their final graduation project.

The lab expertise and projects are shared during events where the lab is invited or with visitors, mainly makers who are looking to reproduce their successful model. However, even if the team tries to stimulate the open source and the documentation of projects they faced 2 main challenges: the server security of the school to upload specific files and the lack of motivation of makers.

The objectives of 2019 are to :

  • increase the students’ community to 800 members while increasing its diversity in careers but also in profiles, with more students with scholarships (actually 12% with an objective of 50% for all the University).
  • make users document and share their projects
  • increase the partnerships with other Fablabs and makerspaces

The Fablab belongs to an independent and non-profit organization which covers all the costs and investment of the space. They don’t provide lucrative services for clients nor charging for the use of the machines. The space is even accessible for free to external users during 6 hours per week.

Each year, the fabmanager presents to the board of directors a strategic plan to validate the next year budget. This latter is dedicated to the lab and includes :

  • the human resources costs
  • the operational costs (maintenance, materials, training, etc) of 65 600$ per year
  • the renovation (new machines, upgrade, licenses…) of 40 000$ per year
  • the investment. In 2018, the renovation of a new space cost 65600$. The investment can also cover the test of new activity. The University is opened to innovative pedagogic approach applying the test & learn methodology. If the new activity is successful, they will invest more to industrialize it the following year.

The rent of the space and the supply costs (energy, water) are covered by the general cost of the University.

Regarding the activities, the Fablab takes in charge all the machines and human resources required by each user to perform their project. However, they only cover the material required for their courses. External users need to bring their own material and their complementary tools. The teachers need to buy the materials the students will need to perform the course project. The list and quantity are defined in collaboration with the team.

In return, the University expects good results of the Fablab review made of the 360° peer evaluation and of students review. The fabmanager is also encouraged to show the impact of his actions on the students’ employment rate and alumni feedback about the University.

Imagine yourself 6 years ago, with a huge amount of money and the mission to create a disruptive University. In the context of Brazil, with traditional universities based on theoretical courses, the meaningful and innovative approach was to design a project-based learning environment where the future engineers could build hard skills as well as soft skills through creativity, experience, and collaboration. In 2014, this project came to life under the name of Insper, with at its heart, one of the first Fablab in Brazil and the first in a Brazilian university.

The objective of this makerspace was to enable fast-prototyping to apply the FabLearn Labs methodology: “do it, discover the theory, then do it again”. Among the several other laboratories of the school (chemistry, physics, material sciences..), the Fablab aims to provide digital tools to make tangible products and to develop an entrepreneurship spirit.

5 years later, the makerspace is about to be transformed: its success and the new strategy of the university which propels more multi-disciplinary projects made in the lab launched a new chapter in the story of the space which will take place in a new environment. Located in another building of the school, it will benefit from twice the space with twice the amount of technologies and materials. However, its values remain the same (respect, collaboration, knowledge sharing and open-minded) to fulfill its missions for 2019 :

  • increase the number of projects
  • work closer than before with teachers to provide a higher quality of support to students
  • become a key partner for students association development
  • increase its participation in the Fablab network

Since its creation in 2014 by Vinicius Licks, the mechatronics engineering program director, the Fablab team has known 2 phases :

  • 2014 - 2016: the phase of discovery and experimentation. The spirit and the activities of the lab were launched by a fabmanager, assisted by two trainees, who were then replaced by a team composed of 3 technicians. Their role was to support students in their projects and to design digital fabrication courses based on tangible products. Progressively, as the students took ownership of it, the need for structure arose to optimize the use of the resources.
  • 2016 - 2018: the phase of structuring and professionalization. Daniel Krás Borges da Silveira was hired as a coordinator, in charge of the needs identification and resources allocation, and to settle safety rules and processes. He made a diagnosis of the situation in order to redirect the activities of the team to the ones linked that fit the core missions of the Fablab. It also enables him to hire a new technician to handle the workload achieved by the team. “The key success of a place is its people”. Aware of the importance of the team, Daniel benefited from an efficient recruitment process designed by the school, based on crossed interviews and practical exercises to hire a new member, with the relevant hard skills and soft skills.

Nowadays, Daniel can rely on 2 designers (Luís Henrique Fonseca Bueno and Leonardo Nazário Rosa) and 2 electronic engineers (Eliana Rodrigues Martins and Luis Henrique Miranda dos Santos¨¨) to give to the space its great and efficient atmosphere. This team is supervised by an academic teacher and completed by a passionate teacher, Víctor Cussiol Macul, who brings its expertise and ideas to transform and improve education. They work in synergy with the other areas of the school: the other labs such as the Tech lab to produce series of products, the dean to impulse prototyping for teachers or the communication department for events and social networks.

A “petit comité”, a weekly meeting, is valuable for the team to share their advancement, needs and help each other. Daniel shares the big projects depending on the members’ skills but the operational tasks are often distributed among the team with video game score.

« Make your question better» is the key question used by the team to foster students’ reflexion. They have to support students but also to challenge them and being able to say “no” when they ask for help. Indeed, this key point is excepted by teachers who designed their courses in order to make students learn through failures and researches in their projects.

Eventually, all the members are yearly evaluated by the others through 360° interviews and each semester by the students and teachers.

The Fablab was designed to be a hands-on space where :

  • teachers from all fields designed tangible products for their project-based courses and receive on-demand training
  • students learn by doing the scientific careers, the design, the digital fabrication and the collaboration through compulsory Fablab courses, multi-disciplinary projects, and team projects for specific courses
  • former students perform their professional projects, showing the examples to students
  • the general public come to use freely the machines, to inspire and open the mind to students

The community of students counts 200 members who come regularly in the lab. It started with engineering careers such as electronics and mechatronics, who represent the majority, but it progressively includes business, administration or economist students. All of the students have to achieve a Fablab course, called “Design Nature course” where they learn a new workstation during each session and have to make a lamp in a team. This mandatory course provides them with the basic knowledge to use the space and start building their own project. Some of them come back to make their own lamp, others carry on by taking an elective course called “Business administration fundamentals” where they have a pitch a business model based on a prototype made in the lab. In any case, the occasions to come back are numerous either to make a project given by a teacher or to enjoy a workshop designed by the Fablab team. Every year, about 50 projects are made in the Fablab.

The general public can freely benefit from the space on Thursday, between 1 pm and 7 pm, and from the team support to be trained on a machine or to develop their project. Designers and architects, including students in architecture from other schools, are mainly represented. They are looking for a free space to prototype their idea and discovered the space either by word of mouth or through Google thanks to the good referencing.

The lab plays also a major role to gather students and companies on a common project. The university offers many occasions for them to meet companies, such as Intern summer program or elective courses like “problem efficient resolution” where they have to choose among a problems portfolio the one to tackle and make a prototype in the lab during their final graduation project.

The lab expertise and projects are shared during events where the lab is invited or with visitors, mainly makers who are looking to reproduce their successful model. However, even if the team tries to stimulate the open source and the documentation of projects they faced 2 main challenges: the server security of the school to upload specific files and the lack of motivation of makers.

The objectives of 2019 are to :

  • increase the students’ community to 800 members while increasing its diversity in careers but also in profiles, with more students with scholarships (actually 12% with an objective of 50% for all the University).
  • make users document and share their projects
  • increase the partnerships with other Fablabs and makerspaces

The Fablab belongs to an independent and non-profit organization which covers all the costs and investment of the space. They don’t provide lucrative services for clients nor charging for the use of the machines. The space is even accessible for free to external users during 6 hours per week.

Each year, the fabmanager presents to the board of directors a strategic plan to validate the next year budget. This latter is dedicated to the lab and includes :

  • the human resources costs
  • the operational costs (maintenance, materials, training, etc) of 65 600$ per year
  • the renovation (new machines, upgrade, licenses…) of 40 000$ per year
  • the investment. In 2018, the renovation of a new space cost 65600$. The investment can also cover the test of new activity. The University is opened to innovative pedagogic approach applying the test & learn methodology. If the new activity is successful, they will invest more to industrialize it the following year.

The rent of the space and the supply costs (energy, water) are covered by the general cost of the University.

Regarding the activities, the Fablab takes in charge all the machines and human resources required by each user to perform their project. However, they only cover the material required for their courses. External users need to bring their own material and their complementary tools. The teachers need to buy the materials the students will need to perform the course project. The list and quantity are defined in collaboration with the team.

In return, the University expects good results of the Fablab review made of the 360° peer evaluation and of students review. The fabmanager is also encouraged to show the impact of his actions on the students’ employment rate and alumni feedback about the University.

Services offered

FabAcademy curriculum Prototyping Open moments Free machines & tools access Community center Education missions

Our best practices

The inspiring things we do here to run our collaborative space

360° peer review

categories
Community The workshop team

What is it?

Comprehensive feedback of your makerspace, team and/or activities given by all your stakeholders.

In concrete terms?

Since its creation, Insper Fablab applies the evaluation process of the school which consists in:

  • an annual review of each member of the team made by the other members, her/his manager and the teachers
  • a half-year review of the team made by the students who participated in a course or used the services (machines, support)

The reviews are based on questions designed by consultants and members of the school who understand the activities but before being used they are validated by the fabmanager. The questions should be specific (“Did you receive the appropriate training to use a machine” rather than “Did you have support from the team?”). All the results are compiled in a report used to highlight the strengthens and the weaknesses. The dean asks each person to analyze their own report and to reflect upon it to explain some issues and to suggest improvements. Even if it could have an impact on the promotion or budget of the space, the evaluation process in human-centered. As a consequence, it gives the opportunity to everyone to explain the results in order to build on it.

Why it’s interesting?

This methodology applies to a makerspace, a team, an activity or a person, gives comprehensive feedback which enables to step back and to take the time to reflect upon the impact, the good practices, and improvements. It’s a good opportunity to realize the work achieved while keep making it better.


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