Patrick County welcomes new Fab Lab

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT
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PATRICK COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - There’s a new place where you can create just about anything your heart desires.

Patrick and Henry Community College celebrated its new fabrication lab Wednesday with a ribbon cutting.

The Fab Lab includes a universal laser cutter, 3-D printers, and a vinyl cutter for anyone in the community to use for a small fee.

“You don’t have to take a class. You don’t have to sign up for a specific program. All you need is a good idea. Fab labs are designed to help someone come in with an idea, take that idea, engineer it, accelerate it, get it to product and, should someone desire, turn it into a small business,” said Greg Hodges, president of Patrick and Henry Community College.

The Fab Lab will especially have an impact on the younger generation.

“They get interested in engineering and STEM very early in their life and that’s a big help, especially as things innovate and grow bigger and crazier every single day,” said Jennifer Puckett, Patrick County Fab Lab Technician.

The machines can create anything from wall plaques to tiny astronauts. The endless possibilities are why this is a passion for many.

A lot of why I love it it is due to the creativity,” said Puckett. “You’re able to take this image that’s in your mind and completely realize it.”

While this could be a hobby for some, for others, it could become a full time job.

“We love it when large employers relocate to a region,” said Hodges. “But, everyone knows that a small business development really is the heartbeat and lifeblood of a community. In its in its origination, it’s designed to have fun, but ultimately, it can really lead to some significant economic development for the community.”

The Fab Lab is open to the public Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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