Gearbox, a fabrication lab for fab academy

Gearbox can be described as a digital fabrication lab, Fab lab, a space set up to inspire people and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new products and prototypes by giving them access to a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology. In this essence we participate in a global Fab lab network as a node for Fab academy. The role of Fab Academy is to initiate, mentor and technically train new students for participation and leadership in the global Fab Lab Network community.  

 Loise Kimwe in the dark room.

Loise Kimwe in the dark room.

Loise Kimwe, a Gearbox intern and a computer science graduate was given a full scholarship by Gearbox. Driven by her huge passion for engineering she took the opportunity to be part of the network that exposes her to a wide variety of digital fabrication, electronics, molding,casting and composites practices, and build skills in a short amount of time.

The program provides her with advanced digital fabrication instructions through a unique, hands-on curriculum and access to technological tools and resources. Each week, Loise plans and executes a new project of her choice in accordance to the provided topic then documents her progress, resulting in a personal portfolio of technical accomplishments.

 Loise etching her PCB

Loise etching her PCB

With her instructor, Felicity Mecha, they view and participate in global lectures broadcasted from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) every Wednesdays at 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm EAT. In addition, they have two lab days each week which are scheduled in our electrical and mechanical lab where they have access the digital fabrication equipment and personal help with projects.

Among Loise projects this week, is making an ultrasonic sensor as an input device for a micro-controller board. As her 8th week, she can move easily around the machines and the chemical process of making a PCB.”I can easily make a PCB from scratch and operate some of the machines with ease. Am actually getting better and better!” she proudly explains to me as she solders her second board.

Her long term plan is to have a personal project that impacts the society. With her background in computer science, she hopes to merge both hardware and software to broaden her tech possibilities.