Fab Labs are one of the more wonderful things to have arisen in the early part of the 21st century. Fully equipped spaces where makers, tinkerers and inventors can come explore, collaborate and experiment with technology, whether it be for the sake of creating a new business or product or for the sake of learning a new skill? There are few better examples of the spirit of the DIY and open source maker movement – and democratized manufacturing – than that.
Software titan Autodesk feels the same way. They may be a huge corporation, but they’ve always been a champion of individuals and small businesses, and they’re a fan of the Fab Lab. Last summer, the company offered access to their Tinkercad, 123D Circuits, and Fusion 360 software to Fab Labs, and earlier this year they opened up their full product design portfolio to attendees of the Fab Academy program.
Now Autodesk is expanding their offering of free software even further. Any Fab Lab registered with the Fab Foundation can apply to receive free access to the Autodesk Product Design Collection in its entirety.
“Autodesk and the Fab Lab network are a perfect match, so it’s great we’re teaming up,” said Andrew Gregson, Co-Founder and Director of Fab Lab London. “Getting easy access to core Autodesk products and technologies with lots of flexibility around license allocation will be really beneficial for the entire Fab Lab community – and for the maker movement as a whole. Autodesk is wisely putting itself right at the heart of this movement and helping encourage a global culture of experimentation.”
Fab Labs who apply for subscription grants will receive 10 subscriptions to some of the best, most comprehensive design software out there, including:
Subscribers will also receive 25 gigabytes of free cloud storage. Good design software tends to be pricey; Inventor Professional, for example, costs well over $200 per month, so this is a great deal that allows Fab Labs to do what they were created to do: offer free access to professional-grade equipment to anyone who wants to use it.
“The maker community in Japan is growing rapidly, and Autodesk has been a leading supporter of the movement through its software and services,” Hiroaki Umezawa, Chief Director of Fab Lab Shibuya, said. “Here at Fab Lab Shibuya, we created a project for Maker Faire Tokyo and used Autodesk tools like A360 for design collaboration and Fusion 360 for CNC fabrication. We see that Autodesk’s services are expanding to a broader range of integrated digital manufacturing, so we’re thrilled to learn of this announcement at Fab 12.”
The Fab 12 Conference, currently taking place in Shenzhen, Japan until August 14, is the latest iteration of the annual meeting of the Fab Labs, more than 1,000 of whom are currently registered. It’s the perfect place for Autodesk to reveal their latest contribution to the world of collaboration and innovation that Fab Labs foster. To apply for a Fab Lab software grant, go here. Discuss further in the Autodesk 3D Software for Fab Labs forum over at 3DPB.com.