H.R. 6003 (111th): To provide for the establishment of the National Fab Lab Network to build out a network of community based, networked Fabrication Laboratories across the United States to foster a new generation with scientific and engineering skills and to provide a work force capable of producing world class individualized and traditional manufactured goods.

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 30, 2010 (Introduced).

I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6003

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 30, 2010

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Science and Technology, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To provide for the establishment of the National Fab Lab Network to build out a network of community based, networked Fabrication Laboratories across the United States to foster a new generation with scientific and engineering skills and to provide a workforce capable of producing world class individualized and traditional manufactured goods.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Fab Lab Network Act of 2010.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

The United States is the world leader in scientific research, discovery, and innovation.

(2)

There exists a strong social and economic incentive to create the fewest barriers to entry for those interested in furthering education, discovery, invention, and innovation in the scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical fields.

(3)

The United States has a strong strategic interest in promoting a robust, well trained, highly capable, and geographically diverse manufacturing base.

(4)

MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms has contributed significantly to the advancement of these goals through its work in creating and advancing Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) in the United States and abroad.

(5)

A new kind of national infrastructure will be required in order to adequately take advantage of leading edge digital fabrication technologies to secure the United States’ leading position in scientific fields and to promote a robust manufacturing base.

(6)

A focused, dedicated national effort will be required in order to ensure the creation of such an infrastructure takes place as quickly and effectively as possible.

3.

Establishment of National Fab Lab network

(a)

Establishment

The National Fab Lab Network incorporated by this Act (hereinafter in this section referred to as the NFLN) is hereby authorized and empowered to receive either real or personal property and to hold the same absolutely or in trust, and to invest, reinvest, and manage the same in accordance with the provisions of its constitution and to apply said property and the income arising therefrom to the objects of its creation and according to the instructions of its donors.

(b)

In general

The National Fab Lab Network (NFLN) shall exist as a nonprofit entity whose purpose is to facilitate the piece by piece construction of an actual network of connected labs. The NFLN itself shall not represent an overseeing, regulating, or coordinating body of this distributed network, but will merely exist to facilitate its construction.

(c)

Definitions

In this section, the term Fabrication Laboratory also referred to as a Fab Lab means a facility containing a variety of manufacturing and other fabrication tools operable by means of digital input as well as the software and computers required to design for and operate those tools. These labs serve a broad range of purposes, but each allow for clear guidelines for how members of the local community, local businesses, and academic or educational purposes can be pursued with the labs’ resources consistent with a charter to be established by the NFLN.

(d)

Functions

The functions of the NFLN shall be the following:

(1)

To serve as the coordinating body for all efforts to create a coordinated, collaborative network of Fab Labs in the United States.

(2)

To serve as the first point of contact for organizations interested in constructing and operating a Fab Lab and to maintain a first-come first-serve wait list of those organizations.

(3)

To work out to the satisfaction of NFLN staff and board members the ability of interested organizations to successfully host a Fab Lab. In particular, the staff and board members of the NFLN shall examine the ability of the organization to supply a physical location for the lab, their financial ability to pay for sufficient staff to operate the lab and train its users, an ability to engage the local community or other sufficient user base, and an awareness of those long term obligations.

(4)

To match those organizations who meet with the NFLN’s approval for those criteria specified in paragraph (3) with available sources of funding and individuals with personal experience in establishing and operating Labs in other organizations so as to expedite the process of making new Labs operational. In general, the NFLN should not bring to this stage or continue to engage with those organizations that do not meet the NFLN’s approval on those criteria described in paragraph (3).

(5)

To advertise or perform other outreach activities to those organizations that might have interest in or otherwise benefit from creating a Fab Lab, and to notify those organizations of the specific purposes the NFLN can perform.

(e)

Purposes

In carrying out its functions, the NFLN’s purposes and goals shall be—

(1)

to facilitate the construction of a new type of information and digital fabrication infrastructure; specifically, in all its actions to facilitate and encourage the construction of a decentralized network of connected Fab Labs;

(2)

to promote the goals of greater science, technology, engineering, and math education, workforce development in the areas of manufacturing and product design, increased innovation and invention in the private sector, as well as scientific and academic discovery through the use of distributed digital fabrication tools; and

(3)

to seek to establish at least one Fab Lab per every 700,000 individuals in the United States in the first ten years of its operation.

(f)

Funding

The NFLN may accept donations from private individuals, corporations, government agencies, or other organizations.