Motivated by the ideas of the fablab network, we started our trajectory in 2014 inside a small office in the School of Technology, in Cáceres. Just two hundred euros on Arduino boards and a fifty-buck toolbox were enough to start a very good experience. Soon the space was taken by the students, all in love with the idea of an open space to do their projects with the help of others. We received some initial funds from several departments of the University, and it was enough to buy our first 3D printer, and more materials to do more projects… From then we have not stopped while increasing our tools and capacities.
Now we are an open community of around forty people per year, with lots of contacts outside the University. We already have some wonderful machines and tons of raw materials and components to develop new devices or custom designs, but we still do not have all the machines of a full fablab, but we can develop many things. We are developing lots of projects, from health-oriented IoT devices, to wireless sensors for saving energy on buildings, or to prevent steal of fruits in the trees…Many audio devices, from tube amps, to Raspberry Pi synthesizers. Mixing old and modern, analog and digital, design and science, hand tools and modern fabrication technologies. We help research groups and companies around us. We repair and give a second chance to many technology. We have developed from old-fashioned arcade machines, to 3D models of parts of animals for the Veterinary Hospital or custom digital key locks for ourselves and external facilities among others.
Smart Open Lab is located in the ground floor in the Telecommunication Building. We are using this space as a two-room lab. With a “clean” room devoted to electronics and software, and a “dirty” room devoted to 3D machines and traditional hand tools. We will soon finish the adaptations of some new spaces. One will be devoted to a “heavy” workshop with a large CNC router, laser cutter, lathe… Another one will be used as a “soft” workshop, with SLA 3D printer, vinyl cutter, sewing machines… And the last one, actually two more rooms, used as an audio recording studio. But this will be in the next months!
We formally are registered as a non-profit cultural association, working inside the University of Extremadura, which means that we are managing mostly public resources and therefore we have a quite clear orientation to the public benefit.
Our community is already composed with people from the University (students, professors and staff) and outside the University (teenagers, makers, retired people, all kind of curious people 😉 ). We develop different kinds of projects: personal, academic, institutional, business… We offer ourselves as a place for designing, building and repairing many kind of things. We are mostly composed by scientist and engineers and we think we can help and give ideas to some different areas.
You can easily joint the community! Ask us!