A new incubator in the East Village packed with the latest machine tools officially opened Wednesday to help San Diego entrepreneurs create high-tech hardware.
With a crowd of a few hundred spilling into 14th street, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Sherri Lightner made brief remarks to dedicate Fab Lab San Diego.
Faulconer said the warehouse space, which is crowded with tables for projects, is an excellent example of the innovation taking place in San Diego.
“This is about dreaming. This is about entrepreneurs. This is about taking risks,” Faulconer said. “We’re not just talking about innovation; we’re doing it.”
After his remarks, Faulconer was treated to a lesson in soldering and presented with a 3-D printed sculpture of his head.
Lightner, a licensed engineer with over 25 years of experience, drew applause from the crowd when she revealed there is a 3-D printer in her home.
“San Diego is the perfect place to cultivate innovation,” she noted.
The non-profit Fab Lab was established in 2007 as part of a network of incubators set up by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It completed a move from Kearny Mesa to the East Village’s “Maker’s Quarter” several weeks ago, and already has a dozen entrepreneurial projects underway.
Entrepreneurs use the lab’s machine tools, 3-D printers, laser cutters and other tools for “short-term fabrication” of new products.
The lab’s emphasis on physical products dovetails with the philosophy of the Maker’s Quarter, where artists and entrepreneurs have set up in the neighborhood’s former warehouses and factories.
Katie Rast, program director for the Fab Lab, invited the crowd to come “invent with us” because “the maker’s movement is a testament to the American dream.”