CSU Bakersfield houses one of the few Fab Labs in California, providing students and members of the community access to complex technologies that were once only accessible to engineers and technicians. The campus’s Fabrication Laboratory, or “Fab Lab,” consists of fabrication and rapid prototyping machines, including 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and computer-controlled sewing machines.

These sophisticated machines make it possible for students and others to explore the entire engineering design process from concept to drawing and models to prototype and redesign to final product. Even those with little technological expertise can learn to use this highly complex equipment, allowing artists, engineers, teachers and those in other disciplines the chance to produce innovative work.

The lab isn’t just for CSU Bakersfield students and faculty, though; in fact, the space is predicated on the notion of open access and community-building. The Fab Lab offers tours, activities and summer camps to students from neighboring K-12 schools, exposing kids to technology and innovation. Community members can use the lab at specified hours to develop their business and create prototypes, too.

But the Fab Lab is more than just a space to create; it also gives members access to the wider community of Fab Labs, all linked by a desire to share knowledge, collaborate and innovate. With more than 850 Fab Labs around the world, Bakersfield is part of a global network aiming to tap into the creative potential of the entire world, developing creators, not consumers.