Endless possibilities

Fab Lab Tulsa Inc., a community resource for rapid prototyping of fabricated products, will move to its own facility in March.




President Matt Norris, Manager Josh Moseby and board member Frank Mulhern are three of the forces behind Fab Lab Tulsa Inc., an MIT fabrication laboratory where community members can build almost anything.

When community members visit one of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Fab Labs (short for Fabrication Laboratories), they need only bring one thing: an idea.

In Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Fab Lab users realized the local hospital and university lacked high-speed Internet access. So they used Fab Lab equipment, low-cost building materials and off-the-shelf network routers to create FabFi, transmitting high-speed, wireless Ethernet signals several miles to those institutions.

In Ghana, a young girl was frustrated that when she visited her local market, she never knew whether the milk she was purchasing was good quality or watered down. So she visited the local Fab Lab and created her own milk tester.

“Those are the two most powerful examples of people being empowered to use technology to make their lives better,” says Matt Norris, president of Fab Lab Tulsa Inc.

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in summer 2010, Fab Lab Tulsa Inc. has been operating temporarily in The Collaboratorium, an entrepreneurial resource center, and will move to its own facility in March.

The Fab Lab concept began as an MIT class focused on rapid prototyping, says Josh Moseby, manager of Fab Lab Tulsa.
“It’s basically a small workspace that has computers running easy-to-use design software (connected) to fabrication machines you can use to make almost anything,” he says.

In 2001, MIT decided to expand Fab Lab into a community outreach project, first creating labs in developing countries and later expanding to more than 40 locations on five continents.

The Fab Lab Tulsa team began to come together in 2008 when Norris, a Spirit AeroSystems Inc. employee, learned about the Fab Lab concept from a colleague who had visited Neil Gershenfeld, a professor at MIT and the founder of Fab Lab.

Norris says he was immediately intrigued with the concept and thought it would be a natural fit with the emerging entrepreneurial spirit in Tulsa.

“Tulsa used to be the oil capital of the world,” he says. “I think we should be the capital of something else again.”

The Community Action Project of Tulsa County first oversaw the group, funding a visit to MIT and southeast Boston’s Fab Lab. By early 2009, Kendall-Whitter Inc., a nonprofit organization serving the residents of the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, sponsored Fab Lab Tulsa. In October 2009, Fab Lab made its official debut at a public unveiling at the Kendall-Whitter Educare facility.

By late 2009, the Fab Lab team had secured enough funding to purchase the lab’s initial equipment, and in March 2010, Fab Lab Tulsa hosted a business summit for more than 100 inventors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and patent attorneys.

“Tulsa used to be the oil capital of the world. I think we should be
the capital of something else again.” – Matt Norris

Now, Fab Lab Tulsa Inc. is on the verge of opening a 3,600-square-foot facility at 710 S. Lewis Ave., the Hardesty Center for Fab Lab Tulsa. The 50th Fab Lab in the United States, it will serve the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood and the Tulsa region.

Moseby says the lab will cater to three audiences: the education sector, the community and entrepreneurs/small businesses.

While the idea for Fab Lab originated at MIT, individual labs can tailor their services to meet local needs. Fab Labs worldwide are also encouraged to share experiences and advice with one another, Moseby says.

“This has been a movement, and Fab Labs kind of take on a character of their own, wherever they’re put,” he says. “In Afghanistan it’s done a lot in the way of community development. … And then you have places like the United States and Europe where … it’s still helping out as far as community development, but additionally, it’s also helping out in the way of education and entrepreneurship.”

When the new facility opens, it will eventually include up to four staff members but also rely heavily on volunteers, who will assist lab users with using the software and equipment. Community members can use the lab for free, although memberships will be available, allowing for more exclusive access to the equipment, which includes a laser cutter, vinyl cutter, 3D milling machine, 3D printer and electronics workbench. Lab users are also encouraged to download free open-source software so they can design projects at home and visit the lab to create them.

Moseby and the Fab Lab Tulsa board are overflowing with ideas to connect the community with the lab. They would like to work with neighborhood associations to discern their needs and encourage lab users to create projects to meet those needs. They are also talking with Tulsa Public Schools officials about ways to integrate the lab with science education.

Frank Mulhern, a Fab Lab Tulsa board member, says the lab provides an opportunity for community members to help one another by bringing their ideas — from home projects to educational tasks to artistic creations to commercial products — to life.

“The users of the lab — the people in the community — realize this is a huge need and then they can take their ideas and their thoughts and what they want to make happen and they have a place to do it now,” he says. “I think that’s a good story of how easy it is, so to speak, to actually make something happen.”

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November 2017

Over the past twelve years, the Williams Route 66 Marathon has become a 26.2-mile party! You might find yourself asking "Is this a race or really just a huge...

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Cost: FREE

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Wyndham Hotel
10918 E. 41st St
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Sponsor: JOYs to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
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Telephone: 918-282-3191
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Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
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Telephone: 918-584-3645
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108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
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All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2017-18 ORU Athletics ticketed sports. ALL KIDS – IT’S FREE! is strictly a promotion. These tickets have no...

Cost: $12, $17, $22

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Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
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124 N 3rd St
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Join us on Tuesday, November 21, at 5:30 p.m. in our dining room as the Culinary team from Cancer Treatment Centers of America warms you up with your favorite winter dishes! For more information or...

Cost: Free

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Cancer Treatment Center of America
10109 E. 79th Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
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join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
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This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

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415 Couch Dr.
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

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415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
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View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
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Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Show Less...

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
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Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

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415 Couch Dr.
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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Website »

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join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

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Tulsa, OK  74171
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4145 E. 21st Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
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Come give those calories one last dance!  We dance in the park behind Jenks Nutrition.  But don't worry, we'll move inside if the weather gets bad.  For $5, you get a fun...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
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View map »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Tulsa Stained Glass
4131 S. Sheridan Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74145
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Stained Glass
Telephone: 918-664-8604
Contact Name: Richard Bohm
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Cost: $12, $17, $22

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7777 S Lewis Ave.
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View map »


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Contact Name: Box Office
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Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Cost: $7

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Tulsa, OK  74102
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Cost: $30 per person (normally $40)

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3807 S Peoria Ave Suite-C
Tulsa , OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Time Paint & Sip Studio
Telephone: 918-927-0729
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Cost: Adults $20, kids $12, seniors & military $17

Where:
Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Dr.
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H.A. Chapman Stadium
3110 E 8th St
Tulsa, OK
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Website »

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Where:
Reynolds Center
3208 E 8th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

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