FAB9 is Melbourne’s newest high-tech open-access makerspace, located in Footscray and launching in February 2019.
With a mission to ‘empower inventors to create world-changing products’, FAB9 will feature 5 different labs under one roof, including a timber shop, a metal shop, a digi fab lab, an electronics lab and a CNC lab. Located in an iconic Melbourne building – the former Lonely Planet headquarters on the banks of the Maribyrnong river – the 900m2, architecturally designed space is being purpose-built so entrepreneurs and startups founders can access the training, tools and prototyping equipment needed to turn ideas into physical realities.
Accessible to the public via subscription-based memberships, FAB9 will offer members access to a wide range of state-of-the art tools and machinery. The first memberships will be available for purchase when FAB9 launches its pre-sale membership campaign on the 13th of November, 2018, before the space opens its doors in February 2019.
The space will have a focus on digital fabrication equipment where people can access both FDM and SLA 3D printers, a large format CNC router and high-end CAD software such as Solidworks. FAB9 will feature the Multicam Trident CNC router – a versatile machine, featuring a 3000mm x 1500mm sized bed with a high-power HSD routing spindle, and tangential and oscillating knives, enabling it to cut through tough, semi-rigid and flexible materials. Its power, precision and huge scope of capability will make it an indispensable asset for time-and-funding-constrained startups working on prototypes.
Having access to this facility will prove invaluable to hardware startups – it will not only allow them to prototype quickly and cheaply, but to develop better products generally. Being able to iteratively prototype, test different product features and obtain end-user validation all in one space will also reduce time-to-market – a critical factor for startups.
Founder and CEO Hans Chang, a former product manager of SanDisk in Silicon Valley, helped launch mobile flash memory chips used by millions of people. Chang is passionate about helping early-stage hardware startups succeed.
“I really think we can become an exemplar makerspace, so when people think about design, prototyping and experimentation, they will think of FAB9. Giving entrepreneurs affordable access to powerful machinery is going to bring some very interesting startups into the space.”
FAB9 has already started to build relationships with local hardware startups, such as airborne mobility healthcare service Swoop Aero, AgTech poultry farming startup MimicTec, and AgTech vertical farming system startup FoodCube. Chang hopes to eventually establish a cross-border hardware incubator with a focus on robotics, artificial intelligence, drones, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and autonomous vehicles.
FAB9’s angel investor Evan Malone is the founder and president of NextFab, a network of makerspaces in Philadelphia and Wilmington, USA. Evan is also one of the co-creators of [email protected] – the first multi-material 3D printer available to the public. Evan’s interest in makerspaces, stems from his belief in the power of makerspaces to encourage and stimulate local economies while diversifying citizen’s skill sets and galvanising communities.
Chang, FAB9’s creative director Ying Zhang and their multidisciplinary team of engineers and creatives have been working on FAB9 for over two years and they can’t wait for FAB9 to open its doors to the public in February 2019. The space is currently under construction, which is due for completion in December 2018. FAB9 will host an invitation-only soft launch for selected hardware startups in January 2019.
FAB9’s pre-sale membership campaign launches on Tuesday, 13th November, and the campaign will run for 30 days, until 13 December 2018, where pre-sale members will have access to exclusive benefits, bundles and special experiences.
FAB9 is a makerspace that empowers inventors to create world-changing products. The space has been purpose-built so entrepreneurs and startups an access the training, tools and prototyping equipment needed to turn ideas into physical realities. FAB9 is accessible for a monthly membership fee.