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 I feel that I can offer help or facilities.
The main machines are two Lasers ( a small one and a large one) as well as the facilities to prepare raw materials and finish cut materials such as a drillpress, bandsaw and workbenches. The lasers are very user friendly and can be operated with good results very quickly. A CNC mill is present, but it is practically never used by visitors.
Wowlab is rooted in designing and building skills and experience. Water, theater and sculpture, graphic design and printing are my background. I realised many home teaching 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. I also gave classes, lessons at concordia (theater), at fablab Enschede ( as coordinator i organised many laser classes), and yet more classes and workshops, all focused on designing, making, printing.
If you want to use a lasercutter, router or other tools you can make an appointment with me. I do not offer a walk- in workspace, which demands so much time that is not feasible to do as a single person Fablab. Other Fablabs or makerspaces in and around Enschede such as Saxion Fablab and TwenSpace, do offer walk-in hours.
New laser / print workshop, scheduled for 2020:
After several 1 day or even shorter workshops now a longer, thematically organised workshop with the laser and press is scheduled for 2020. This gives a chance to dive deeper into the subject and get more interesting results. . It will use the digital Wowlab tools when necessary or desired, but offers more emphasis on designing and discovery than an elementary introduction to the laser. However, if you would merely like to learn to work with those machines, feel free to ask.
Other workshops to be expected : graphic art and graphic design. Several topics are possible, amongst others:
A children workshop where small, easy to work with printblocks are made and used. I already gave it several times, and it works very well.
A very different workshop is designing and making patterns, using programs like illustrator and inkscape combined with the lasercutter. Not for the beginner, and probably best to organise as a toko, a kind of master class. It was scheduled but did not take place. Next try this year.. Read this post about it
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.
Occasionally friends drop in with ideas: Ruud Steltenpool, Edwin Dertien, Tjibbe Knol, amongst others like people associated with Tetem Enschede, Maakfestival Twente. And there is 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 alive and evolving (we keep updated them) , defining 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 by developing and giving workshops and by participating in Maker festival and other local festivals . We have a low profile, this suits Wowlab well: we have no intention to become the 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. 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. Once.
Who can use Wowlab?
Basically there are no exceptions, but Wowlab focus is on creativity. Most customers are artists or designers. For lcommercial use such as mold making, milling or modelmaking we suggest you consult Wout Zweers or Rolling Hills
The mill, bandsaw, drill press and welding gear may not be used without instruction beforehand, for user safety. The lasers, 3D printer, hand tools and small electric tools are regarded as safe, but you must use your common sense. But that’s the first commandment for every maker.