Welcome Freshmen!

Dear freshmen, we are glad you found your way to the University of Siegen. With us you can create crazy things! The following text was published with little changes in the ESE-paper of the GG LaBaMa in the winter terms 20/21..

Here could be a formal text describing what a Fab Lab is, what technologies you can find in our Fab Lab, what the Fab Lab has to do with a university and why actually “Fab Lab? But I think you are all able to type fablab-siegen.de into your browser and find out for yourself what we have to offer as Fab Lab of the University of Siegen. That’s why I’m saving you this. Just so much: The Fab Lab is an open creative lab of the university with many different machines like 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC mills and so on. When there is not global pandemic anyone can come and do cool things.

A Brief Introduction of the Fab Lab.

The idea for this text came to me in the shower. I was wondering what of our pre-written text about the Lab I might send to the editors of the ESE newspaper to let first-year students know that the Fab Lab exists. And then I remembered a mail from “nanooq”, who announced that he will write a text for the Hasi for this newspaper. What the Hasi is is (presumably) in his text, which is also printed in this publication. Who nanooq is, you may never know. Or he suddenly appears in your life because you have set foot in the Siegen “scene”. Then: all the best! Well and because I already know nanooq a bit and also his texts and stories about the scene, a formal text about the interior design and the scientific orientation of the Fab Lab seemed a bit stale to me. The glittering hasi (yes the article is chosen correctly!) and nanooq’s wordiness will make the Fab Lab look old. So I’ll give it a try.

Often during your studies you will surely hear the question: “But why Siegen?”.
And you might get into trouble explaining: “Because it’s so beautifully green here!”, or “Because I can attend seminars about Harry Potter here…!”.
In my case, the Fab Lab (and a failed course of study) was more of a deciding factor. Because in a Fab Lab like this, you can expect not only certain machines, but also a certain kind of people. Cosmopolitan, colorful, creative, crazy intergalactic creatures.

One of the reasons why I decided to study in Siegen was that when I was visiting the university (yes, there are such nerds), I was led by the tutor of the HCI students at the time (HCI stands for Human Computer Interaction. What Human Computer Interaction stands for….well duckduckgo it yourself) was also led into a small lab, in which my current work colleague Marios sat engrossed bent over a microcontroller circuit. I was introduced to the space as the “Fab Lab”.
“You could do something like Marios is doing right now in your studies”, my tutor tried to get me. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Fab Lab, even outside of my studies, and experienced a lot. In the meantime, I even work there.

One of the trades we built in the Lab (the connoisseur only speaks of “Lab” [ˈlæb], the “Fab” is silent!) even made it into the daily news. A palm tree, made of bed slats and dryer exhaust hoses, sidewalk slabs, steel and quite a lot of light and electronics.

At one point, there were large quantities of bed slats in the Lab’s warehouse for this project. People from Siegen have a lot of slatted frames to give away for free, we took advantage of that (Attention: Insider tip). And these bed slats wanted to be sanded so that they could then be repainted with white paint. White paint reflects very well, so it’s good to shine spotlights on it. Later, the battens should be screwed into triangles. Several of these triangles of slightly bent bed slats screwed together form the skeleton of a palm leaf. It’s like that. If you then hang these leaves in a star shape on a metal trunk you get a span of 9 meters. In height, the palm tree brings it to four and a half meters.

After painstakingly disassembling the slats in the Hasi, we sanded down the extracted bed slats at the back entrance of the Lab using the most inefficient tools (orbital sander and sandpaper) we could find. Maybe the tool could have been used to sand down normal wood, but not the nasty coating those bed slat manufacturers had put on there.

People grind wooden slats

One grinds behind the laboratory.

So we’re standing at the back entrance of the Lab in the parking lot, struggling with these bed slats. A car parks next to us. A guy we don’t know gets out. Maybe 40, slight grin on his lips. As he walks from his car to our rather sad collection of mediocre “craftsmen”, he smugly calls in our direction, “Well, do you need help?!”.
We defiantly try to ignore him in frustration. All I hear nanooq saying is “No thanks, we’ll be fine”.
“I might have what you need in the trunk,” the stranger replies.
So there’s a complete stranger who happens to have what we need in the trunk. Hm, sure.
nanooq, still a bit curious, follows him and the two come back with several cutters and grinding wheels. The sanding discs we brought with us were perfect: sandpaper arranged in a circle, stacked like flaps.

It slowly dawned on me what was going on. Past me, thank you! I had asked 1-2 hours before on the off chance in the Fab Lab Telegram group if someone had suitable tools for our action. I had not expected that strangers read along and also still feel addressed. And then just load up the trunk with tools and hit our place. It’s going well. For the remaining battens, we then needed another minute per batten. It took 10 minutes. This results in a working time reduction of 90%. Henry Ford would somersault in his grave.

The finished palm tree. The painstaking work was worth it. Creative design: Simon Budig. A project by people from Hackspace Siegen and the Lab.

The man with the cutters has been in and out of the Lab regularly (if it weren’t for this damned virus) ever since. He is now “part of the community.” And that’s what the Lab is all about. The Community. People meet, exchange ideas, pass on their knowledge, teach each other new things.

Check out our Telegram group or our news channel (also Telegram). At the moment we have a limited operation until further notice, always on Wednesdays and only for university members (as well as students). Soon we will hopefully be able to open again for everyone, so you can experience live and up close what makes the magic of a Fab Lab. We’ll put that in the Telegram group, on our website, Twitter, Facebook. You know it. Until further notice our

opening hour (with regard to news about corona) apply.

Fab Lab reopens for members of the university

Good news for students and other members of the university of Siegen: from now on the creative workshop in the Fab Lab reopens in compliance with strict hygiene regulations. Opening hours are until further notice each wednesday between 10am and 4pm.

From now on wednesdays you can print, laser, plott, solder, sew and mill. The Fab Lab team invites especially students to use the Fab Lab as a place of creativity and to realise study projects. Of course there are some restrictions to observe. The Fab Lab implements the hygiene concept from the university and has some additional special rules for working in the Fab Lab.

We are glad to finally enable the opportunity for more people to do creative work in the Fab Lab. Thereby everybody’s health is important.

Marios Mouratidis, Lab- and Project-Manager of the Fab Lab.

Please write to for and advance booking. The spaces are limited: Per day in total 15 people are allowed to work in the Fab Lab, this allows to keep the risk of infections low.

Because everybody working in the Fab Lab is required to have attended in a safety instruction the Fab Lab offers this instruction every Wednesday at 10 am. Mostly these safety instructions take up to 90 minutes. An registration for these safety instructions is required.

Details about the registration and some answers to potential questions can be seen at https://fablab-siegen.de/oeffnungszeiten/.

Who wants to be kept updated could follow the Fab-Lab-News-Channel on Telegram. If you want do participate in discussions the Fab Labs Telegram group is the place to be. You can subscribe to the mailing list too.

From Now On: Lab Opening for Members of The University of Siegen Every Wednesday

Dear Community,

Good news for some of you: from now on we will extend our Studi-Lab to all university members. Anyone who works or studies at the University of Siegen is allowed to come to us on Wednesdays from 10 am to 4 pm and work independently on their projects, provided they observe the appropriate hygiene conditions.

As everyone who wants to work in our lab needs a safety briefing, we offer these safety briefings every Wednesday at 10 am (usually they last about 90 minutes). An registration for these safety instructions is required.

Details about registration and some answers to possible questions can be found at our opening hours.

If you want to stay up to date, you can subscribe to our Telegram news channel or our mailing list.

fablab-siegen.de With New Splendor

In the last few weeks we have not only been fighting the Covid 19 pandemic with face visors from the Lab, but in parallel we have also tinkered a new website for you and the Lab. You are bathing your hands in it right now! Have fun clicking/touching and feel free to give feedback via the known channels or to .

For the impatient: At the very end of this post you will find an overview of what is new and what is still to come. For the others, here’s a short story about what we were thinking and what’s involved in such a website relaunch.

The following is a description of our “development process”. Not much was programmed, but it was put together. And that also wants to be done!

The Development Process

First of all, we had a workshop a few weeks ago to find out in which direction the new website should point. Everything we wanted to have on the new website and who we want to reach with it and how. To do this, we asked ourselves the following questions:

  • What information do we want on the website?
  • Who do we want to reach?
  • What could the website look like?
  • How do we want to file the information?
Steamed workshop mindmap

The result is a website based on the blog software WordPress. This seemed to make the most sense to us in terms of functionality and extensibility with plugins. Using WordPress wasn’t new territory for some of the team either, and we had about an idea of what we could accomplish with WordPress. Our requirements were met:

  • Software that is regularly updated so that everything is as secure as possible.
  • Automated display of events in the Lab
  • Image galleries to present the lab also virtually
  • Automated viewing of research results (A list of publications that have been produced as part of the Lab).
  • Easy contact
  • Easy editing of the content by the Lab team
  • Writing of contributions, for example project reports by the community
  • The social component: Visitors should be able to comment on posts and easily get in touch with us
  • Multilingualism
  • Data protection compliance

Team Coordination During These Times

First of all, we started to form a team to build up the website piece by piece. We transferred existing content to the new website, created a menu structure and designed the homepage.

Kanban

We organized ourselves in a Kanban board (there are many online solutions, take the one that suits you best). We met online audio-visually every day when things got hot, due to corona, and exchanged information about the current tasks. From time to time, a split screen was also used. It has been shown that it is a good idea to make the Kanban board visible to everyone by means of a split screen, so that everyone also knows which task card or ticket is currently being discussed. The cards documented the current developments within a task and stored images or documents. Thus, a documentation of the development was created at the same time.

The 80/20-20/80-Syndrom

As was to be expected, the 80/20 rule also struck us, which one or the other is surely familiar with. 80 percent of the work is done in 20 percent of the time. The last 20 percent then take 80 percent of the time. When you think you’ve got it, that’s when it really starts.

The contents were transferred relatively quickly. But then it was on to finding plugins for calendar integration, image galleries, and privacy compliance, as well as checking content for currency and expanding it. And everything has to be put together somehow, so that the page structure makes sense to visitors and information can be found easily. Where do you write the opening hours everywhere so that everyone can find them?

“But they’re already on the menu under opening hours, aren’t they?!”

Yes, but…. sometimes that’s not enough. So we have made an effort to sort the information as it seemed to make sense to us. We have already done a few user tests, but we are also a bit dependent on your help. Write us, talk to us, tell us if you can’t find something or if something bothers you. That helps enormously! ->

The current version offers little that is new, at least apparently. So you could also say: old wine in new wineskins.

With Sauce and Spicy (That’s New!)

But wait, we also have news!

  1. We now have an overview of the events in the Lab (getting fancier)
  2. Students can get an overview of which courses we offer
  3. We have a separate area for press representatives (still being expanded)
  4. There is a better overview of current and past research projects in the Lab (to scientific publications go here)
  5. The area of occupational safety was revised
  6. There is an overview of the machines and technologies that we can offer as a lab
  7. A subscribable calendar

And What Does The Future Hold?

We have a few more features in mind that will follow in the next few weeks:

  1. An English version of the site – because we have more and more international guests and cooperation partners who depend on it
  2. Possibility for the community to write contributions themselves
  3. Nicer presentation of the dates/events
  4. A press kit for media representatives
  5. An overview of completed theses by students

And many little things are also still on our agenda. Stay tuned and have fun!

Face Visors Against The Virus

After the closure is before the start of production. After all, we, like many other public institutions, had to cease our operations on March 16. Now there were a dozen 3D printers standing around unused. MakerVsVirus and other ideas and projects that developed online in the following days invited us to do something against the virus.

Well, to make a long story short, we are now producing facial visors to reduce the risk of infection to medical personnel and other at-risk groups(the hip girls and guys also call them covid shields). The visors are given free of charge to medical facilities.

Our dear colleagues from the press office have also enriched the whole story with a little more detail and written it down here: Fab Lab of the University of Siegen prints face visors.

What Can I Do?

We can use donations of materials and assistance in making them!

Concrete we are searching for:

  • PETG-Filament 1,75mm
  • PETG-plates 0.5mm, transparent and clear
  • Elastic head hole rubber bands
  • Companies and individuals who have free 3D printing capacity themselves

Feel free to contact Peter Kubior:

Help, I Am a Medical Facility and I Need Visors!

Medical facilities interested in the facial visors can contact Peter Kubior by email:

I Am from The Press and Want to Know More!

Please contact our press office directly for further questions.

Stay healthy. #physicaldistancing not #socialdistancing
Your Lab-Team!

Pressreview

Retr0brighting – Brighten up old gaming hardware

A contribution by Florian Jasche

In the last two days I have been working on retr0bright and I don’t want to withhold my experiences from you. I’m currently retrofitting this old Playstation 2 controller and was actually going to limit myself to the inside, but now I’ve decided to give the controller a bit of a facelift on the outside as well.

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However, the primary goal was not to make the controller look nicer again, but to simply have retr0bright done. So I looked around in this internet how retr0bright works and what you need for it. You can find many different recipes and procedures. All involve hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution 👨🔬 and (UV) light. I was inspired by this video first and decided on the H2O2 and heat variant:

For this I bought a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. You can get them for a few euros at Müller or Amazon. To test the procedure, I first performed a small test. There were two parts on the controller that had to be replaced due to damage and could therefore be used as a test and reference object. Before the test, I removed the protection from the parts.

For the H2O2 & heat variation, I mixed the H2O2 with tap water in about a 1:2 ratio and heated it to about 60°C in a pot, then let the first part float in the solution for four hours. Even though no additional light source was used in the video, I still decided to shine a lamp into the pot. Since other tutorials keep saying that the best results can be achieved with ultraviolet light or lots of light in general, I took the brightest/intensive lamp I had there. This is a 50W high power LED which is normally used as plant lighting. But I can’t tell you exactly what wavelength comes out ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

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After four hours, I then took the part out of the solution and could perceive a visible brightening, with which I was satisfied.

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So in go the next parts. Since I had bought only a small bottle of H2O2 (250ml) and accordingly there was not so much liquid in the pot, I first put in only the front sides of the joysticks, since they are somewhat flatter. Important: the parts should be completely covered. After four more hours, I took out the fronts of the joysticks and compared them to the backs.

I treated the backs using the same process, but I had to improvise a bit because I didn’t have enough of the hydrogen peroxide solution to completely cover the backs. So I decanted the solution into the jar and added some more water and then heated the solution by water bath. This time I couldn’t set up the lamp properly, so I left it out.

After another four hours, I got the parts out. The whitening was much less than the other pieces, so I just let them float in the solution for another three hours. Unfortunately, this did not bring so much.

Black gloves = professional.

Since the actual controller housing is way too big for my pots, I used a different variant here. For large housing parts, the Internet recommends the use of hydrogen peroxide gel. In this process, hydrogen peroxide is mixed with glycerin (among other moisturizing properties) and xanthan gum (E 415, thickening agent). Alternatively, you can use Oxide Cream from the hairdresser: https://www.amazon.de/Cream-Oxide-1000ml-12/dp/B008F5MIL6/ (see reviews).

The procedure here is as follows: The part to be bleached is evenly coated with the gel and then, if possible, wrapped airtight (zip lock bag or cling film) and placed in the sun or under a lamp for about 24 hours. Wrapping is to prevent the gel from drying out too quickly.

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The aluminum foil serves only as protection for the table. Then quickly built a bracket for the lamp 👨🔧.

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After about 24 hours, I then freed the case from the cling film and washed it properly. It has become brighter, but unfortunately not as much as the other parts.

Before
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After
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I also put the backs of the joysticks under the lamp overnight. In the morning, the parts looked like this:

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Thursday 13.2, 7 pm: Lecture “FabLab Maya – Can Technology Help Preserve Traditions?”

On Thursday (13 February) Christian will give a talk about Fab Lab Maya at 7pm. Christian visited Fab Lab Maya in the Mexican jungle and would like to tell us about it. There they try to support the local population and traditions with modern technologies.
The title of the lecture is “FabLab Maya – Can technology help to preserve traditions?

Facts

  • Admission is free!
  • When: Thursday, 13 February 2020
  • Start: 7 pm
  • Where: Fab Lab, Herrengarten 2, 57072 Siegen

The Lab is now also open on Wednesdays and Saturdays

We can now offer you new opening hours for the Lab! Friday remains in place. We are also open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of our safety briefings twice a month and our plenary once a month. The 3D Printing Happy Hour merges into the Wednesday appointment and no longer exists in its own right.

The opening hours are valid until we move out of the Herrengarten.

New Opening Hours

  • Wednesdays: 13:00 – 17:00
  • Fridays: 14:00 – 20:00
  • Saturdays: 12:00 – 18:00

At these times, work can be done freely in the Fab Lab. All interested parties are welcome to attend. We are looking forward to your visit! If you want to work in the Fab Lab, you must have taken part in an appropriate safety course beforehand.

Important: We may have to cancel opening hours from time to time due to other events or teaching at the Lab. But then we’ll announce it beforehand! So before you go to the Lab, check here on this page to see if it’s really open.

Safety Instructions

Safety instructions are held at 4 p.m. every first and third Thursday of the month. Registration is not necessary. Read more here.

Plenary

On the last Thursday of the month we have our plenary for everyone at 5pm. More Information here.
Just come by.

Happy Making,
your Fab-Lab-Team

Visit from Mascat (Oman) to Fab Lab Siegen

On 22 November, we had a visit from a delegation from the German University of Technology (GUTech) in Mascat, Oman with 20 mostly female students of technical disciplines and two teachers.

The delegation was interested in the concept, implementation and benefits of Fab Labs at universities, as we are pursuing in Siegen.
Prof. Dr. Volkmar Pipek, Director of the Fab Lab on this:

“We are very interested in sharing our experiences in setting up and running a Fab Lab and networking with Fab Labs worldwide.”

As you may have noticed, we have several international partnerships, such as the YALLAH exchange with universities in Palestine and Gaza, the Global Innovation Gathering network and Greece Communitere.

Prof. Pipek also emphasised again how important a lab is for exchange, the acquisition of knowledge and also for intercultural understanding. Prof. Pipek continues:

“In addition to implementing vocational qualification pathways, Fab Labs also serve as learning sites for technical skills for the population and can thus make an important contribution to democratising technical knowledge in all countries and cultures.”

There are more than 1700 Fab Labs worldwide. Discussions are currently taking place to support the establishment of a Fab Lab at GUTech in Mascat by the University of Siegen.

Not Bad for Friday The Thirteenth

A contribution by Ingo Schultze-Schnabel

On the evening of that December day in 2019, I held in my hand the first copy of a 3D print of one of my designs.

Finished print still on the 3D printer

I have been working artistically with multipart images and objects since the 90s and was looking for a method to transform a design into a sculptural object from the 3D printer.

Members of Fab Lab Siegen accompanied me in several steps: From the basic information about the Fab Lab and its possibilities, the ways of designing from “my” graphics programme via CAD programmes to the printer control, a lot was new for me. But in the great working atmosphere it was fun to get involved with new things.

Now the new object hangs provisionally on the wall, for “test viewing”, so to speak. I am concerned with the mechanisms by which our perception “sees” something as a whole with the help of partial information. The quality of visual information, redundancy, the “information gap” – such terms run through my head.

3D print hung on the wall

Here in the work you can see how, despite the distances between the stripes, the impression quickly arises in many places that rectangles, seen in perspective, are being depicted there. The gap suddenly becomes information. With David Amend at the end of the day, I got to talk about how the exact same thing is happening with fake news, an area in which he had experience from a computer science perspective. This is how fragments become a narrative and how easily “truth” emerges in our minds. That brings me back to my artistic theme.

If you want to go a little deeper, you can find more material on my blog.

If you want to experience more art in Siegen, please refer to the ChaosFlux from 24-26 April. Mehr Infos: https://chaosflux.de/de/about/