Idea Fab Labs, or IFL, is one of Chico’s best kept secrets. It is a mysterious, wondrous place near downtown Chico where, for the last 5 years, “makers” have been coming together to share great ideas and bring the unimaginable to life. But the truth is, Idea Fab Labs is committed to much more than that.
Idea Fab Labs is a member-driven creation zone located in both Chico and Santa Cruz, California. Idea Fab Labs is changing the way students, engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs learn and work by introducing newbies to high tech fabrication, design equipment, and software in a hands-on, fun environment.
The Idea Fab Labs Chico facility is a 6,900 square foot building, four blocks from CSU, Chico with multiple workspaces, access to standard and high-tech tools, a gallery, indoor and outdoor areas for group activities, and an active community of makers, designers, artists, programmers, and more.
The Idea Fab Labs are open source, community-driven facilities for exploring the digital fabrication techniques and technologies of the modern maker culture. They present Gallery exhibitions of breathtaking, tech inspired art, created in their Tech Art Incubator program. As an artist and father of two, Erin Banwell, Director of Idea Fab Labs recognizes Idea Fab Labs’ potential in offering more than just a space for artists, makers, and programmers. He sees it as a space invested in inspiring youth and giving birth to future innovators and entrepreneurs.
Field Trips to Idea Fab Labs
K through 12 classes from Butte, Shasta, and Glenn County schools have been learning about digital fabrication and the Makerspace movement by attending field trips to Idea Fab Labs, Chico for the last 3 years, with over 1000 students visiting the Orange Street facility in 2017. Field trips include a complete tour, hands on group activities, and live demonstrations of all the digital equipment including:
Digital embroidery machine
CNC router (15ft wood carving robot)
Augmented reality sandbox
Giant LED ceiling array
For more info on field trips, visit:
Science Museum Exhibits
Idea Fab Labs also manufactures hands-on and tech-oriented exhibits for science museums, schools and educational institutions. The Augmented Reality Sandbox exhibit is their most popular offering and their clients include: Shasta County School District, Monterey Peninsula School District, and The Monterey Bay Aquarium.
After School Maker Program
The excitement and response from the community has inspired Idea Fab Labs to announce its new Youth + Inspiration Fun Labs After-School Program for ages 9 through 13 years old.
Kristy Lively, the Youth Program Director, says, “The Youth + IFL after-school program will use STEM-centered curriculum to support hands-on, project-based activities while focusing heavily on logic-based exploration and life-science educational skills and activities.”
Director Erin Banwell has partnered with Idea Fab Labs member, Kristy Lively, to implement the new Y+ IFL after-school program. Kristy, a new face to Chico, is devoted to youth development and has been involved with Idea Fab Labs field trips for the last year. Subjects include:
3D Printing Scanning & Design
Arduino: Coding in Robotics
Micro Drones 101
Creative Computing: Raspberry Pi and Scratch
SESSION ONE: Micro Drones 101: Build and fly your own indoor micro quadcopter
February 1st through February 28, 2018
Intro to Quadcopters and flying techniques
Learn to Solder while Modifying Your Quadcopter.
Learn to fly like a pro.
Learn Maintenance and Repair.
Indoor drone racing with your friends
Students take home their own micro drone.
SESSION TWO: 3D Printing, 3D Design and
March 7th through March 29, 2018
Learn to download and 3D print objects from the Internet.
Learn to design your own 3D models from scratch.
3D scan and 3D print your own head.
Design and Print a Final Project.
Students take home a 3D Print each week.
SESSION THREE: Arduino: Coding in Robotics
April 4th through April 25, 2018
Learn the basics of programing your own Arduino.
Build an open source, 3D printed Arduino robot that can walk, dance, avoid obstacles, and make noise.
Modify and customize with specific behaviors, body parts and sounds.
Students take home their own custom programmable robot.
SESSION FOUR: Creative Computing: Raspberry Pi and Scratch
May 3rd through May 31, 2018
Use Raspberry Pi and Scratch to code interactive stories, animations, and games.
Learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and collaboratively.
Learn and explore Scratch projects.
Learn the fundamentals of programming and coding.
Idea Fab Labs will offer the Youth + IFL after-school program on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Students will be encouraged to develop, define, and integrate a hands-on approach that incorporates real-world problem solving, project management skills, and object-based learning. The first hour will be assigned to homework help and/or tutoring, and a healthy snack which will be provided to each student.
Selected staff will be available during the first hour to bridge academic achievement and encourage peer and community mentorship. The remaining two hours of the program will be set-aside for learning and exploring the subject matter and then diving deep into each week’s focus. At the end of each session, each student will walk away with a completed project. Specialists and guest speakers within each area of expertise will give talks and facilitate workshops throughout each of the 4-week cycle courses.
Meals, tutoring, special guests, supplies, and all materials for each project will be provided for, and are included in the cost. All staff involved in the Youth + IFL after-school program have passed background checks and completed a CPR and First Aid training.
We are looking for our first 15 students to join now. Parents can sign up at http://ideafablabs.com/yiflafter-schoolprogram/. Enrollment opens January 1st of 2018. Each 4 week-cycle is $120 per week/ per student; the total cost is $480.
Idea Fab Labs
603 Orange Street • Chico, CA 95928
www.ideafablabs.com • (530) 592-0609