FabLab Firenze is a mini FabLab. «A hub that wants to be, first and foremost, a platform for the independent development of projects, in which business partners become users of the structure and the FabLab receives quality content obtained in an autonomous way», explained Mattia Sullini, 36, originally from Udine but living in Florence for studies (currently working on a degree in architecture), he is a freelance illustrator, an expert in rendering, and president and coordinator of the FabLab together with Lucio Ferella.
«The team manages the association – added Sullini – in a way that it is occupied only with the organization of the FabLab and not with creating the contents. The FabLab then offers communications and the community to promote the initiatives of the individual members and takes a small quota».
Mattia (who also manages Combo coworking and Lofoio makerspace): «FabLab Firenze is a project that is completely self-financed in which the costs are reduced to a minimum thanks to an agreement with ImpactHub Firenze, which, in turn, has a structure that is capable of establishing contacts with companies.
The machines were donated or leased. As for the spaces, we can count on the 28 square meter workshops: there are the dirty machines for metal and woodworking. And then there is the white part, a makers area located in the center of the structure».
Even Lucio Ferella is involved in coordinating the FabLab. Originally from Baselice, in the province of Benevento, he has a degree in IT from Federico II in Naples, and he has a doctorate degree in Mechanistic and Structural Systems Biology from the University of Florence. «Over the past few years – he says about himself – I have worked on a curiosity (about nature as an object or phenomenon), which is my main passion. When I am in “hack” mode I like to play with RFID technology and construct versions that are more or less functioning flying objects (quadricopters), though they often (unfortunately) fly for just a few moments».
And it was Ferella who designed the system for the recognition and transfer of credits. He added an RFID antenna into all of the FabLab Firenze membership cards in order to monitor the initiatives within the space and the use of the machines. The electronic components were made out of recuperated and re-assembled broken objects. It was one of the first projects of FabLab Firenze. Ferella also collaborates with the LofoIo makerspace.
The staff also includes Daniele D’Arrigo, speech therapist and MakeAusili project manager, co-founder of the FabLab Firenze association. «FabLab Firenze is an association with the scope of promoting the do-it-yourself and personal digital production culture – explained Daniele – and within the association I take care of, above all, the Arduino workshops dedicated to assistance and accessibility».
BUSINESS PARTNERS. One of the supporters of FabLab Firenze is MakeTank by Laura De Benedetto (46, born in Taranto, founding member of FabLab Firenze), the marketplace of digital makers (headquartered in Florence) where traditional artisan and design techniques meet with the new technologies of digital fabrication and open hardware. It is also the startup that won Techgarage of Maker Faire Rome, the contest reserved for the top 20 enterprises chosen by Barcamper Makers Tour.
There is also Kentstrapper (a fusion of Lorenzo’s nickname, Kant, and Strap, the name adopted by the machines made from RepRap), the startup created by brothers Lorenzo and Luciano and their father Ugo Cantini (they are also among the founders of FabLab Firenze), who from 2011 have created a serious family enterprise specialized in designing and producing low cost 3D prints, starting with the RepRap project. After Archimede and Galileo, with Volta they are now working with third generation 3D printers (they sell about 20 per month). Here is their story.
Plug and Wear by Riccardo Marchesi (vice president of FabLab Firenze) is also involved in the project. A story that goes from natural fabrics to technological ones, with an economic crisis in the middle. From machines that pull wool and cotton to those that weave intelligent threads that
communicate with computers: this is the story of the fabrics entrepreneur from Florence who, when faced with the economic crisis, decided to re-invent the family business rather than close it. He dismantled the company and “hacked” it, giving it an entirely new future. The renewed hope that this gave him as an innovator was then shared on the stage of World Wide Rome in 2012. And now, among the threads that pass through his machines in via Rocca Tedalda 25 are also those of the future.
«Fablab Florence is a platform of relations, collaboration, growth and exchange. FabLabs are collective cellars and garages, the myth of American genius, the unregulated genius who constructs things alone in his garage has been substituted by a social version», Mattia Sullini on 25 April 2014 (HERE)
«The truly precious thing that is created in a FabLab is not so much the products but the producers. Those who are developing or will develop projects in FabLabs are re-conquering the control of processes and design as complex actions that are inseparable from creativity and technique. This is the explosive potential of FabLabs: the spontaneous formation of hybrid figures that are no longer designers or planners, a formation that is guided not so much by a common passion but by a common utility. The makers!» Mattia Sullini, 2 July 2013 on the Fablab Firenze blog
The machines can only be used by spending credits (HERE is how they work) that can be earned by participating and helping organize activities or by contributing to the daily functioning of the FabLab. Members of FabLab Firenze have access to the workshops and work areas during opening hours. Tools and machines can be used during group activities, as a group, or individually (if you have credit).
In order to use the machines you must also demonstrate that you can use them safely. Each machine is potentially dangerous so it is necessary to participate in training courses that are held regularly at the FabLab.
WORKSHOPS AND COURSES
Fill out the membership request form HEREI. The request must be accompanied by the annual membership fee. Enrollment is open year round.