Yes, a fab space is somewhat an extension of a coworking space, but it is in no way a FabLab or TechShop. We know you might be confused on these terms, so let us try to clear it up a little for you.
FabLab & TechShop are a Trademark Name
As Gui Calvancanti has nicely defined in his article, FabLab and TechShop are a trademark name, just like TechShop. So no, you cannot just go around calling every fabrication place a FabLab or TechShop, that’s like calling every french fry shop McDonald’s. Hence the more generic term that seems to be used these days – Fab Space.
Is a Fab Space a Coworking Space?
Fab Space – a short form of Fabrication Space, has been experiencing rapid growth all around the world as more and more people get into inventing and making their own creations.
A Fab Space is basically a collaborative, open community space that offers a wide range of fabrication and ‘maker’ machines such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, as well as a variety of workshops and events related with these machines. Yes, it is similar to what TechShop and FabLabs do, you just cannot use those names due to the trademark on them.
So yes, you can view a fab space as a coworking space simply because the basis of the spaces are the same: it is an open, community environment where people of the same mindset come together to build, share and collaborate. The only difference being that the fab space would probably have more equipment than your regular coworking space.
Can you manage a Fab Space the same way as a Coworking Space?
Of course you can! The same way you manage desks, meeting rooms and event spaces in a coworking space is the way you can manage the various machines and equipment in a fab space. For easier management, you can always use a software like the one we have to help you manage with a zen space!
Photo credit: 3D Printing Technology @ Siggraph 2011 via photopin (license)