Welcome to the Fab Lab one of the most exciting innovations in manufacturing for decades!

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

The idea was dreamed up by renowned inventor and scientist Professor Neil Gershenfeld at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

His vision is 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 anyone who wants to create something new or bespoke.

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.

At the heart of a Fab Lab 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 compared to traditional tooling methods.

Over 3,000 small manufacturers, inventors, schools and community groups have used Fab Lab Manchester and a wide range of products have been conceived, developed and prototyped here.

Fab UK community

It all started in Manchester in 2010 when the Manufacturing Institute set up the first Fab Lab in the UK.

This was followed by a Fab Lab in Airedale in West Yorkshire in 2011 and since then we have set up or helped in some way with the set up of Fab Labs in Ellesmere Port, Belfast, Londonderry, Cockermouth, Ironbridge, Falmouth and Lime Wharf in London.

All the Fab Labs now come under the Fab UK umbrella with a vision to develop a UK network of similar facilities engaging with over 250,000 people by 2020.

We are excited about the future and are looking forward to providing expertise, support and guidance to organisations or groups who may be interested in establishing a new Fab Lab and drive a new generation of interest in digital manufacturing.

If you are interested in setting up a Fab Lab – we can help!



Solid oak USB charging stand

I wanted a neat way to store and charge my laptop and the kids’ tablets.  I had some oak lying around, and wanted an excuse to try out the ShopBot…

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- Self Lighting Purse -

I always struggled to find something in my purse in dark places, so I usually ask someone to turn the tourch on with their mobile phone and point it inside my bag, so I could find the thing I was looking for!

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Laser Cut Wedding Invitations

Invitations can cost upwards of £3 each which is a little to much out of our wedding budget so we decided to have a go at making them ourselves!

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Made to Measure Desk

My 12 year old son had outgrown his small desk and needed more space for his computer and homework. So we decided to use it as an excuse for a joint project to test our Fab Lab skills and use the ShopBot to make a new L-shaped desk designed to fit the bay window in his room.

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Do you want to build your own Fab Lab? We can help with every step – and even run one for you.

The Manufacturing Institute brought Fab Labs to the UK in 2010 and since then we have helped set up Fab Labs in Airedale, West Yorkshire, Ellesmere Port, Belfast, Londonderry, Cockermouth, Ironbridge, Falmouth and Lime Wharf in London.

Our Fab Lab team are recognised experts in everything from making sure that you have found the right building to installing 3-D printers and laser cutters, and we can even run a Fab Lab for you.

We have worked with Universities, Local Authorities, Colleges, Commercial Businesses and Community Groups to set up Fab Labs in the UK and around the World and have developed the following packages.

Contact the Fab Lab team on 0161 875 2525 or complete the form below to see how we can help.

Contact Us

Premises Review

If you have already identified some potential sites for your Fab Lab we can give them a detailed inspection and assess if they are in the right place to attract users, to house all the technical equipment you will need and to allow enough space for staff and makers to come together in a creative environment.

Layout Design

Now you’ve found the perfect Fab Lab space, how will your layout work? Where will you put the technical equipment, learning spaces and recreational areas so that Fab Lab users get the very best from their experience?

Don’t guess! Our Fab lab team have helped with many layouts and can help you create the creative hub you need. They can then produce a 3-D model of the layout to share with your team to make sure everyone is happy.


Since opening the first UK Fab Lab in 2010 we have built up a great relationship with Fab Labs in the UK and around the world. We know what skills are needed to work in a Fab Lab – and it’s not just technical know how. Fab Lab staff also need to have a real passion for sharing their knowledge with makers young and old.
We can build you a bespoke recruitment programme, to include having one of our senior staff on the interview panel, depending on the size of your Fab Lab project and the number of staff you would like to recruit.

Assessment Centres

As part of your recruitment process we can design, organise and host a recruitment assessment centre aimed at finding you the very best Fab Lab staff.


Each Fab Lab has a list of recommended technical equipment ranging from a 3-D printer to a Shop Bot CNC Router.
We can do the whole procurement process – from paperwork to organising delivery – for your technical fit-out to help you get the best price from trusted suppliers.


We’ve been installing hi-tech pieces of kit like Shop Bots for 5 years now so let us worry about getting all your Fab Lab equipment installed and up and running.

Staff Training

Now you’ve got your perfect Fab Lab, with the best layout and bright new staff we can train them on how to use your state-of-the-art equipment.

We also give your senior staff operational training – how to run a successful Fab Lab.

Running A Fab Lab For You

We can do it all!

Give us a call about setting up, staffing and running a whole Fab Lab on your behalf.

We’ve got years of experience, the right connections and a passion to see the Fab lab network expand in the UK.


When opening a Fab Lab, The Manufacturing Institute will source and install all the equipment required to open a lab. Have a look through our equipment list for more information about each machine.

3d printer

3D Printer

Model: Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer

Material: ABS Plastic

Max Build Size: 254mm x 254mm x 304.8mm

Max Thickness: 0.25mm

File Format: STL

More info
Laser Cutter

Laser Cutter

Model: Epilog Mini 24″ x 12″ 40W Laser Cutter

Materials (Cutting): most materials except metals

Materials (Engraving): most materials including glass and anodised aluminium

Max Engraving...

More info
Desktop miller

Desktop Miller

Model: Roland Modela MDX-20E Desktop Miller

Materials: Jeweller’s wax, resins, chemical wood, acrylic, light metals such as brass and aluminium

Max work piece size: 203.2mm x 152.4mm x...

More info
vinyl cutter

Vinyl Cutter

Model: Roland Vinyl Cutter GX-24E CAMM-1

Materials: vinyl, paint mask, reflective vinyls, twill, heat transfer, sandblast

Material size: from 50.8mm to 698.5mm wide

File Format: SVG, PDF

More info

CNC Router

Model: ShopBot CNC Router PRSalpha96

Material: wood, foam, aluminium, acrylic

Max Material size: 1.22m x 2.44m x 0.15m

File Format: DXF, STL

More info


Do you want to sponsor the coolest homework in the world?

Here’s your chance to get behind a fantastic schools 3-D printing project.

Ultimaker 3D printers are one of the leading manufacturers of self-build 3D printers and the brand has captured a prominent position within the competitive Maker industry.

They fit perfectly with the Fab Lab movement and Manchester and Ellesmere Port Fab Labs have teamed up with Ultimaker to create a school project with a difference.

3d printed head


Read about what’s happening and coming up at the Fab Labs across our network.

Manchester Fab Lab is moving temporarily to Trafford Fab Lab, Altrincham

The Manchester Fab Lab is moving to a temporary location as of 27 August 2016.

Since opening in 2010, the Manchester Fab Lab has attracted over 19000 visitors, ranging from primary

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Contact us

Please complete the form below and a member of the team will respond to your enquiry within 12 hours, alternatively call us on 0161 875 2525.

We look forward to helping you accelerating your manufacturing career.

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Fab UK Contact Form

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