NextFab: Philadelphia's Nerd Gym

NextFab logo, courtesy of NextFab
From Shopbots to table saws, Philadelphia's latest nerd gym has everything for the aspiring inventor/tinkerer/artist to flex their chops.  NextFab is a membership based fabrication shop. After going through proper safety and operation classes, you can find yourself "printing" a plastic model on their 3d printer or cutting any variety of materials on their laser cutter. You can visit their website for a full list of their machines and classes. In addition, if you don't have the time to fabricate something on your own, you can hire NextFab to make it for you.

Image courtesy of NextFab
Accessibility is a huge component of what NextFab is all about. When NextFab creator Evan Malone was a graduate student at Cornell -New York's only Land Grant University- he found inspiration from the small-scale manufacturing setups, called Fab Labs, developed by MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld. Fab Labs assist underprivileged communities with the development and production of the tools and items they need. National Science Foundation has funded 60 Fab Labs in 18 countries, in mostly rural areas in places like Costa Rica and India. "It's the power of just providing access" to technology, says Malone.

NextFab is nestled into the University City Science Center, on Philadelphia’s Avenue of Technology and they squeeze a lot of heavy and techy based equipment into their 3600 square foot facility. The cozy quarters are a by-product of aspiration for accessibility within an urban condition, and one that is easily worked around.


Stay tuned for breaking news on our friends Kate and Joel from Kaman+Erland who will be using a similar model to create a collaborative that focuses more on hand craftsmanship at their exciting new studio Germantown!

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