Fab Labs

Fab labs were makerspaces primarily run by gay men. It turns out “fab” does not stand for fabulous (which is honestly what I thought), but fabrication.

MIT developed the fab lab concept, which is more top-down and cookie-cutter than the other types of spaces. By definition, they come with a high price tag. We’re talking $25 – $50K of equipment just to get started. But the similarities between fab labs mean they all share basic capabilities. Therefore, something produced in a Chicago lab could be easily replicated by labs across the globe. You could say these fabrication labs are indeed fabulous in their own way.


These are typically grass-roots member-supported sites featuring a wide range of tools ranging from a basic band saw up to a CNC machine or laser cutter. PS 1 not only features a few high-tech gems, but also a loom, sewing machine, t-shirt making equipment, a food science kitchen (coming soon) and a functional TARDIS. (Okay, the time travel kinks haven’t been worked out, but it has other bells and whistles.)

In my mind, a hackerspace is a makerspace with attitude. Though admittedly, the attitudes at PS 1 have been positive. People are there to make and learn, and hang out a bit.


This term is often used interchangeably with the term hackerspace, but sounds considerably less badass. These are sometimes also called creative spaces. Dale thinks of makerspaces as hackerspaces that skew to a younger audience, so it’s fitting that I’m calling our basement (which is still evolving) workshop a makerspace.