I wish I could write that I had a positive experience during our inductions, but the painful truth is that I don’t remember any information from a single induction at the fab lab. Whilst here we were talked at with numbers and formulas which I don’t learn from. In my opinion we should have been hands on learning, the tutor showing us how to use the machine whilst actually using it, not him metaphorically walking us through it whilst teaching the mechanics behind it as, after all, we don’t really care how it was made, we care how to use the machine.
In addition to this, after the inductions we were basically told that if we did want to use the machinery, we would have to book a session and still have a 1-1 with a member of the fab lab team assisting us. This made me question the point of the induction in the first place as, what was the point in us having a group one? I would have rather spent my time developing my work in other aspects rather than wasting it in a place where I didn’t necessarily need to be.
Again, the individual whom gave us our tour spoke that he wished the fab lab had a stronger rapport with graphic design as this was a sector in which they didn’t have much clientele with. But, after these inductions, I didn’t feel comfortable in confidently going there on my own and working with a member of their team. I feel as though had I gone back, it would have very much been a repeat of the statistics I had already been told rather than actually using the machinery, and this obstructed my potential in developing some of my modules further. I know I have the resources to do so, but it’s a question of me feeling comfortable there and I know that a lot of other individuals also questioned this.
How it could change:
The inductions could be done in smaller groups and before going down there they should prepare something in which they would like to either laser cut or 3d print. I think this would be a much better use of our time as we could firstly learn how to actually use the machinery and then apply this knowledge to current briefs without actually realising how helpful that would be. This would encourage us as students to go back and develop other modules using the same process, I also believe it would develop our confidence there.
I think that the fab lab team should run their workshops baring in mind that we are students whom aren’t studying a degree in engineering so us knowing how the machine was put together isn’t necessarily a useful session. The fab lab is something we would use to develop our existing work and take it to that next level. A lot of us don’t respond well to being talked at with no visual guide, it’s very boring and quite frankly it feels like a little bit of a waste of time walking out of an induction with no artefact.