As most of you will probably know, PrusaLab is our in-house makerspace founded in 2018. The idea was to give something back to the community: a large public workshop, well-equipped not only with 3D printers but also CNC machinery, lasers, and various electrical and manual tools, with skilled craftsmen available as tutors.
PrusaLab enjoyed nearly two years of continuous successful operation, reaching about a hundred permanent members, with many more coming on a one-time basis. Everything was set for further growth…and then the Covid pandemic hit. We had to close our doors to the general public, as we couldn’t take any increased chances of spreading the virus among our workers. We canceled all face-to-face meetings, factory tours, training courses and workshops. For most of us, this was just inconvenient, for PrusaLab, however, closing the doors meant complete inability to function as intended.
This forced a redefinition of PrusaLab’s main purpose, from a public workshop to a more selective custom manufacturing and hi-tech prototyping center. Fortunately, this cloud seems to have a silver lining – when looking back now, two years later, we can say this transformation has been a huge success! Without further ado, let’s watch a video with a summary of PrusaLab’s most interesting projects and commissions!
As you can see in the video, there is a little bit of everything: art, culture, prototyping, and a functional star gate (or strictly speaking, a Future Gate for the sci-fi festival of the same name), complete with a mask worn by its reptilian guardian. 😀
Another project worth special attention is the kinetic sculpture Fluidum, made for the EXPO 2020 in Dubai. It consists of 85 robotically controlled mirrors arranged in a strictly geometric pattern. Its main theme is embodied by the viewer and their reflection, which hypnotically ripples, morphs, and flows. It is a further development of ideas employed in the Reflection (Reflexe) installation featured at the Prague Signal Festival in 2019.
Many PrusaLab projects have social or environmental aspects – like, for example, sports gear for disabled players of boccia, a variant of petanque, haptic models for the visually impaired, skateboards made of recycled plastic 3D printer parts, or Living Forest, an art installation promoting a fundraiser for renewing forests destroyed by overpopulated bark beetles.
As for business prototyping, there are Vannila Robotics with their autonomous delivery robots, or custom-made bike saddles Posedla (a pun combining Czech words for possessed and saddles ;-)) These projects were developed within the scope of the Prusa hardware accelerator program, with the patronage of Josef Prusa himself.
Last but not least, PrusaLab guys also do many internal commissions, like for example this cozy shelter for our alpacas that live next to the Prusa factory. 🙂