Make believers

Hardesty Center for Fab Lab Tulsa has grown from an MIT concept for fostering innovation to a privately funded, stand-alone facility where Tulsans can take projects from concept to creation.



San Miguel Catholic Middle School students work with Fab Lab Tulsa volunteers. Fab Lab also operates educational programs with Kendall-Whittier Elementary School and Street School.

Fab Lab Tulsa began as a concept but has evolved into a national model.

It celebrates its first full year in its permanent space Sept. 13, a far cry from the original idea imported in 2008 and cultivated by a handful of friends.

Fab Lab is short for Fabrication Laboratory. The idea originated in 2001 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a community outreach project meant to use technology to foster innovation. It’s a long way from Cambridge to Tulsa and a long way from the original MIT plan to what has become sort of a master idea for a stand-alone facility where users generate new ideas and new products.

Matt and Diama Norris started Tulsa’s Fab Lab. He’s an engineer with Spirit AeroSystems who heard about Fab Lab when MIT officials talked with Spirit about putting a facility in Wichita. Diama is a public policy specialist with Community Action Project (CAP) who also had contacts with MIT.

They visited the MIT Fab Lab “and came back energized,” says Anne Pollard, another early Fab Labber. They recruited a couple of friends, Dr. Robert Strattan, a University of Tulsa professor, and Dan Moran, one of the founding members of Fab Lab Tulsa and secretary of the board of directors.

Their first funding came from Jeff Gettys, vice president at a company called Callidus, which has since been sold to Honeywell. His daughter is a friend of Diama’s and introduced him to the Fab Lab. He put up a significant amount of money to buy the first equipment, computers and accessories.

Pollard was involved with Kendall Whittier Main Street, a program that works to promote and restore the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, and heard about Fab Lab through Moran. She jumped aboard.

“It took us a good three years to get going,” Pollard says. “That core group put blood, sweat and tears into it. … That was our other job.”

A major breakthrough came when Michelle Hardesty took a look.

“She is an incredible visionary,” Pollard says. “She took a look at us and took a leap of faith.”

The Hardesty Foundation, which she runs, became the naming sponsor.

Another friend of Pollard’s, Deborah Zinke, owns property in the Kendall Whittier area.

“She is an advocate for community development,” Pollard says, and  provided a building at East Seventh Street and South Lewis Avenue.

The Fab Lab has computers and devices to cut, drill, machine, engrave and slice non-metallic materials in a variety of shapes and forms. It also has hand tools, such as soldering irons, and equipment to fabricate electronic devices.

Non-metallic components can be used as patterns for items constructed from metal.

The response since Fab Lab’s facility opened “has been tremendous,” says Nathan Pritchett, a former partner in a technology business who became executive director in February. “We’ve had a large influx of artists, hobbyists, designers … people who make a large variety of products.”

It also operates educational programs with the nearby Kendall-Whittier Elementary School and Street School, an alternative high school and therapeutic counseling program. TU’s University School also brings students from its summer camp.

“We’re also seeing a lot of entrepreneur and venture types trying to develop products or start a business,” Pritchett says. “They have had ideas but no resources.”

Serving as a resource is what Fab Lab is all about.

Most Fab Labs are sponsored by educational institutions or nonprofit organizations. Tulsa now has one of “the largest Fab Labs anywhere,” Pollard says, and it has become “kind of a model for a new type of Fab Lab that is a stand-alone facility, independent and privately funded.”

The Hardesty Foundation is the major funder, but Fab Lab also receives support from the Chapman Charitable Trust and the Kaiser, Zarrow, Frank and Bank of Oklahoma foundations, among others. It receives no government money.

It hasn’t produced any major innovations or new products yet, Pritchett says, “but we’re optimistic that something like that will come.”

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October 2018

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

More information

Wiener dogs are already funny to look at. Now try watching over 100 of them zig, zag, jump, and generally get confused in a test of speed and intelligence! Ok, we’re being dramatic. The pups...

Cost: $10

Where:
Tulsa Oktoberfest
2100 S. Jackson Ave
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Riverparks Authority
Telephone: 918-596-2008
Contact Name: Ryan Howell
Website »

More information

Are you staying in town for Fall Break? The Melting Pot is offering an extended weekend-long family special with kid-friendly fondue for the whole family.

Cost: $29.95 per adult | $19.95 per child

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma with nationally-known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and crafters MarktHaus, full carnival and fun...

Cost: $10

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S. Jackson Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Linde
Telephone: 918-596-2007
Contact Name: Tonja Carrigg
Website »

More information

  Prepare to be delighted and entertained at Magical Family Evenings. Treat your family to a kid-friendly meal with mystifying magic from 6-9 p.m. at your tableside. Choose from the regular...

Cost: $29.95 per adult | $19.95 per child

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

The Fear Factory is Tulsa's newest haunted attraction.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tulsa, OK  74115


Sponsor: 75 Productions
Telephone: 918-947-9544
Website »

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

Think you can't do something, like sculpt, build a robot, or make a stamp? Think again! Come enjoy our 45-minute workshops held every Monday at noon at the McKeon Center for Creativity....

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: McKeon Center for Creativity
Website »

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

Join the Red Shoe Society benefitting the Tulsa Ronald McDonald House in enjoying some yummy food at Red Lobster at 51st and Yale Avenue and support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tulsa,...

Cost: Purchase of appetizer, entree, dessert or drink

Where:
Red Lobster 51st and Yale
4525 E 51st St
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Red Shoe Society
Telephone: 580-399-7264
Contact Name: Bayli Hobson
Website »

More information

Our series concludes with roundtable discussions about specific issues in end-of-life care planning and decision-making. Resources, Toolkits for Healthcare and information consultations will be...

Cost: free

Where:
Clarehouse
7617 S. Mingo Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Clarehouse
Telephone: 918-893-6150
Contact Name: Britni Smith
Website »

More information

It's time to get spooky! Join us for Halloween fun in the garden. We'll watch Mel Brooks' comedy "Young Frankenstein" while we decorate pumpkins. We'll supply the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Library
400 civic center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa City-County Library
Contact Name: Rebecca H

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

The United Nations Association of Eastern Oklahoma (UNAEO) will host His Excellency Ambassador Kai Sauer, the Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, as guest speaker for the...

Cost: 100

Where:
Greenwood Cultural Center
322 N Greenwood Ave
Tulsa , OK  74120
View map »

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

Tulsa Metro Sound invites you to visit our weekly rehearsals - to be introduced to the women's All American craft of a cappella singing. We meet every Thursday evening at Christ Church Episcopal,...

Cost: 0

Where:
Christ Church Episcopal
10901 S Yale Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Metro Sound
Telephone: 918-352-6091
Contact Name: Candace
Website »

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

Bring your little ghouls to our annual Not So Spooky Halloween Bash! This is a costume party (only non-scary costumes please). It gives you a chance to see our gym, play a little, win door...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Little Gym of SE Tulsa
6556 East 91st Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »

More information

The Fear Factory is Tulsa's newest haunted attraction.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tulsa, OK  74115


Sponsor: 75 Productions
Telephone: 918-947-9544
Website »

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Its painting party time! Grab your friends and favorite bottle of wine and join us in painting this lovely painting of two kitties gazing at the moon

Cost: 40

Where:
DECOPOLIS
502 S. Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: DECOPOLIS
Telephone: 918-382-7388
Contact Name: Kathleen
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Arabian Horse Association is headed back to Tulsa, Okla. for the 2018 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show from October 19-27. Join us for exciting new events,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-696-4500
Contact Name: Kelsey Bergland
Website »

More information

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Come celebrate the arrival of fall!  With hayrides, games, trunk or treating, train ides, emergency vehicles, a petting zoo, and more,  Asbury is bringing in the Autumn season!  This...

Cost: Free, except food items for purchase from Food Trucks

Where:
Asbury UMC
6767 S. Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Asbury UMC
Telephone: 918-392-1165
Contact Name: Kim Broadhurst
Website »

More information

BaseCamp Spook-tacular: A camping, music, Halloween festival. Be prepared for a kid-friendly spooky night filled with friendly ghost, tent-o-treating, a mini-spook glow hike, and tons of great live...

Cost: Free Entry, $55 Camping Permit, $70 Early Entry Camping Permit

Where:
Turkey Mountain
6850 S. Elwood Ave
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Riverparks Authority
Telephone: 918-596-2008
Contact Name: Ryan Howell
Website »

More information

Once a year, the Oklahoma Aquarium opens its doors to trick-or-treaters of all ages to enjoy a safe, fun, indoor alternative to traditional Halloween activities. HallowMarine 2018 will feature our...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

The Fear Factory is Tulsa's newest haunted attraction.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tulsa, OK  74115


Sponsor: 75 Productions
Telephone: 918-947-9544
Website »

More information

TU Theatre presents Man of La Mancha on October 18-20 and October 25-27 at 8pm. October 21 at 2pm,

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Kendall Hall
3102 E 4th Place
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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TULtalk


QUIZ: Which Oktoberfest Beer Are You?

Take our quiz to discover which of the many seasonal brews on tap at Oktoberfest, Oct. 18-21, best captures your personality!

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Episode 6: Vanessa Hall-Harper, District 1 City Councilor

City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper gives us a debrief of why civilian oversight might be the next step to mend relations between community and police.

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From the editor: Only in downtown

I’ve had so many “only in downtown Tulsa” moments.

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An Insider's Guide To Downtown Tulsa

Experience downtown with these tips and tricks for navigating the districts — where to eat, get a drink, and find entertainment.

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Charitable Events: October 2018

Our social calendar is jam-packed for the month of October! Which of these worthy causes will you support?

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