Restoration Resources: The Fab Lab
511 E. Third Street, Bethlehem
Northampton County Community College’s Fab Lab is an informal workshop that offers affordable access to a state-of-the-art woodworking shop, metal-working facility, plastics lab, audio lab, and a technology lab that uses lasers for cutting, engraving, and inlaying. While resin casting and laser cutting may seem daunting for the average person, the staff at the Fab Lab, including the Historic District’s own Jeffrey Boerner and Bob Blum, offer group classes as well as individual instruction and general project assistance.
The Fab Lab prides itself on being an unpretentious workspace with a can-do attitude where anyone, whether expert or complete novice, can create just about anything with wood, metal, and plastic. The day that I visited the Fab Lab, I met a bride-to-be who was making wooden boxes for her bridal party as well as a young man who was making a custom cabinet. I also got to see some examples of previous projects including cutting boards, wooden bowls, wine glasses that had been laser engraved for an event at the library, inlaid jewelry boxes and humidors, and even resin icicles that were being sent to Dubai. Soon, the Fab Lab will even manufacture our historic date plaques with more weather-resistant materials.
The Fab Lab is a great resource for home restoration and renovation projects. The staff can help you with many old house repairs such as recreating moldings and other architectural elements, building wood storm windows, metal repair, casting impossible to find replacement parts, and even cabinet-making. With modern machines such as CNC routers, 3D printers, and laser cutters, professional quality repairs that were previously too challenging and labor intensive for the average homeowner are now quick, easy and even fun!
For more information or to schedule a complimentary tour, visit the Fab Lab’s website. You’ll be amazed at what you can make.