A FabLab (fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication, generally equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production.
Starting this business could be a great opportunity to grow up your skills, your competence, and maybe to being able to quickly find a great new job. In every moment you can decide to run your own FabLab, because there’s no trademark, no license agreement to sign that stops you from doing that. But it’s always a business and you have to valuate everything.
First, you need to have an idea of what is inside a FabLab. A FabLab can contain every kind of machines. There are no rules about what a FabLab can contain and what it cannot. But there are some categories of machines which you must have: a 3D printer, at least one CNC machine and a laser cutter to let craftsmen play with materials and their flexibility. The investment? With less than 1500 dollars you can set up a minimal equipment for a very small amount of people.
Second, you need to have a team. You can find a lot of volunteers who can devote their spare time to their jobs in the lab. But it can be not enough. You could need somebody able to help you in the rest of the day. Clearly, it would be a cost. You need to valuate it.
Third, you need to have a clear idea of how to earn. With a FabLab you can sell products made by yourself, but also provide a support to every designer who wants to use a 3D printer. Furthermore, you can also rent your instruments. The possibilities are unlimited. So what are you waiting for? Open your FabLab!