What is Wowlab
Wowlab is a Fablab. It is located in the studio of Wout Zweers and offers facilities, support, advice and a workspace. It is a small but well equipped artist studio where projects and experiments can be realised. The emphasis is on design, construction, printing and sculptural projects, but other projects are also welcome if we feel that we can offer help or facilities.
Wowlab experience is rooted in designing and building with water, theater and sculpture, graphic design and printing. And Wowlab realised about 15 different classes for young kids last three years as well as various workshops, in Wowlab and in and around Enschede. These workshops aimed at paper craft, printing, design methods and construction.
Wowlab does not offer a walk- in workspace, that would require very much time from fabmanagers or volunteers which simply is not feasible in this small organisation. If you look for a facility to use a lasercutter, router or other digital tools you can make an appointment with Wowlab or contact with other places like Saxion Fablab, which does offer walk-in hours.
New workshop, scheduled for early 2019:
After several 1 day or even shorter workshops now a longer (6-8 week span), thematically organised workshop is in preparation, scheduled for begin 2019. This gives a chance to dive deeper into the subject and get more interesting, longer lasting results. Because of the experience with graphic art, set design and design in general the themes will focus there. Printing, cutting, perhaps casting / molding, use of handtools and drafting is to be expected. It does use the digital Wowlab tools when necessary or desired, but offer more emphasis on designing and discovery than the usual “introduction to the laser or 3D printer”. However, if you would like to learn to work with those machines, feel free to ask for assistance.
Via Chainlab, a way of cooperating with other Fablabs (Saxion Fablab) and hackerspace TkkrLab in Enschede, as well as KittLab Wowlab is connected to other expertise and makers. All Chainlab members have their own specialties. We use and recommend each others facilities and expertise.
Goals of Wowlab
Enthousiasm and wanting to share and cooperate determined the goals of Wowlab:
- Support makers with facilities and experience,
- Provide a place where for discovery and enjoying making things, starting from your own interests. This applies especially to children. The younger they start this, the better,
- Promote interesting ways of working and methods to make the best of tools and knowledge,
- Make users feel familiar, well informed and competent with the tools, methods and materials, develop a curious and playful attitude,
- Working with hands, brains and hart,
- Share the fun.
Wowlab as a Fablab:
Wowlab’s goals are realized by a small but dedicated group of users who support the goals and help to develop these. Together we organise workshops, develop new activities and act as ambassadors for Wowlab, Fablabs and for making in general.
These volunteers are: Henk de Poot, Melina McKim, Lilia Efimova, Damella Kruyff. Occasionally friends drop in with ideas: Ruud Steltenpool, Edwin Dertien, people associated with Tetem Enschede, Maakfestival Twente. And there is much cooperation with artists, mostly from Enschede but also from farther away. They use Wowlab for it’s facilities (mill, laser) and expertise (how can we make this?)
Evolution of Wowlab
Wowlab’s goals are always evolving (we just updated them again), defining more and more the identity of Wowlab. We try not to be a copy of others but to find out what we are good at and do that properly. We cooperate through Chainlab, by developing and giving workshops and by participating in Maker festival Twente. We have a low profile, this suits Wowlab well: we have no intention to become a big Fablab in the region. We rather use Wowlab as an experimental place where interesting ideas get enough time and place to get developed instead.
Wowlab is not a commercial organisation but still has to pay the bills. We receive money from the machine rental and workshops. And in 2017 a subsidy for purchase of childrens tools was granted by Willem Willink foundation (Borne). It is planned to become Wowlab foundation which allows funding of furniture, extra tools and special projects.
Who can use Wowlab?
Basically there are no exeptions, but Wowlab focus is on children, home schooling, artists and designers. For hardcore commercial use such as mold making, milling or modelmaking we suggest you consult Wout Zweers or Rolling Hills
For user safety potentially hazardous machines such as the mill or welding gear may not be used without instruction beforehand, depending on Wowlab manager decision. The laser, 3D printer, hand tools and small electric tools are regarded as safe, but you must use your common sense. But that’s a first for every designer 🙂