The Fab Lab

“Classes, Tools & Community, Located in the Village, New York City.” Yes, that pretty-much sums up Fab Lab. This West Village workshop provides the latest in “digital fabrication” capabilities “and some traditional stuff, too,” along with a series of events and classes in a communal setting. The brainchild of the owners of the similarly named Fat Cat, a local jazz bar and pool hall that is just downstairs, the Fab Lab brings together a modernist approach to shared work spaces and the communal spirit of creativity that surrounds the Village ethos’s. It’s a wondrous educational venture and community project in a seemingly unlikely space. Conveniently situated near 70 Charlton’s SoHo condos and just a short jaunt north of Houston, the Fab Lab is an indispensable and truly fabulous makerspace where you can free your inventive self and liberate your inner artist.

Startups, starving artists without soundproofing for power tools, and other pros (or even more serious enthusiasts) seeking space in which to work and create will love the available options for coworking. Choose a dedicated desk with a membership and enjoy 24-hour access to private offices, three hours of job time on the laser and CNC router, discounted classes, and Wi-Fi—all in a secure, key-carded, and comfortably air-conditioned building. Don’t need some of the extras? Sure, you can save a few dollars and forgo the membership; however, be forewarned that you’ll ultimately want it. With so much to do and explore at Fab Lab, and special discounts for classes and events that only members receive, a membership is the best way to get the most from this Village gem.

Fab Lab’s training offerings are varied and immediately useful. So, even if you’re a seasoned pro on one or more of the available machines, there’s always something new that can help you take your work to the next level. “Intro to Laser Cutting and Safety,” “Intro to CNC Machining,” and “3D Printing 101” are all reasonably priced classes that will get you up and running with practical knowledge and solid safety tips. Looking for something a bit outside of the box, or rather, something locked in the box? Maybe try their “Intro to Lockpicking.” Yes, for 20 bucks, they’ll teach you the basics of locksmithing and how to break some of the more common types of locks. No tools are required for that one. Simply bring your Houdini fantasies and questions about home applications, and Fab Lab will supply the rest.

Technologists looking to expand their knowledge base in a more social environment will enjoy the Meetups and other events that Fab Lab regularly hosts. Come in and learn JavaScript, the first step for those who may want to eventually create interactive websites, mobile apps, or even robots. Or pop in for 3D Thursday, when 3D design software and techniques, making use of 3D printing service bureaus, prototyping, multiplastic fabrication, or any one of a dozen other topics surrounding the science and art of 3D printing are discussed. Better still, kick off the week and open your mind to endless futuristic possibilities on Machine Learning Night. This Meetup of “students, computer scientists, engineers, academics, and entrepreneurs with a deep interest in these fields and related technologies” focuses on machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence, among other things, including how to integrate these concepts into your current business and everyday life. And don’t forget to check Fab Lab’s website for specifics for each event. Like many Meetups, most are private and require an RSVP.

And finally, what’s work without play? Fat Cat the club is right below you, along with billiard tables, pong, and shuffleboard. A laid-back, open environment, they offer live music seven nights a week: perfect for unwinding after a day creating your new masterpiece or as a bit of hip inspiration for a long overnight to come with a more vexing project.