Fab Lab

Lakeland Consortium Receives First Fab Lab Grant

Apr 26, 2017
Dean S. Acheson photo

Lakeland Union High School (LUHS) and its two elementary school partners aren’t the only school districts to be awarded fabrication laboratories (fab lab) grants this week by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, but they are the first consortium to receive one.


21 Wisconsin School Districts were awarded Fab Lab grants today including Rhinelander, Northland Pines, Phelps, Phillips, and Lakeland Union High School in Oneida, Price and Vilas counties.

A top state official says the Fab Lab started here and has now spread across the states. The Fabrication Laboratories take state of the art computer and Internet technology and harness it to create projects. Some say when it is fully fleshed out, it could revoloutionize manufacturing in rural America.

Grants ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 were awarded in the Northwoods.

Milwaukee Public Schools

The top official of the Milwaukee Public Schools thinks there are many similarities between urban and rural schools, especially when it comes to funding.

Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver was in the Northwoods last week along with 13 other Milwaukee school leaders to look at the Fab Labs springing up in at area high schools.

Governor Walker was in Crandon last week, saying during his upcoming budget address, he'll announce more money going to rural districts in various forms.

Dr. Driver says all Wisconsin schools need to get more funding...

Ken Krall WXPR

Three Lakes had the first K-12 Fab Lab in Wisconsin.

Since then, the idea has spread to a number of Northwoods school districts and has drawn the interest of school administrators across Wisconsin. Legislators, staff, school district administrators all boarded a yellow school bus at the Representative Rob Swearingen's business in Rhinelander Wednesday to begin a day-long trip to Northwoods Fab Labs.

Dr. Darienne Driver is the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools who says they're interested in bringing Fab Labs to that school system....

More FAB LAB Money Announced 25 More Schools Waiting

Sep 20, 2016

The state's job creation agency is helping more high schools and tech colleges create new "fabrication labs" that train students to obtain valuable job skills.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation says it will allocate another 500-thousand dollars in the current fiscal year for the "Fab Labs" program. The labs are high tech workshops with manufacturing components like laser engravers and Three "D" printers.

Three Lakes was the first K-12 school district in Wisconsin.


Five Northwoods school districts are among 25 statewide getting up to $25,0000 to fund Fab Labs in their schools. In the case of Three Lakes, they were the first K-12 District in the state to have a lab. The other districts getting funded are Rhinelander School District, Northland Pines Schools in Eagle River, Florence and Chequamegon in Park Falls. A Fab Lab is comprised of off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, wrapped in open source software and programs written by researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms.


The first K-12 digital Fab Lab in Wisconsin was honored Wednesday by the Department of Public Instruction.

The Three Lakes Schools project was one of seven awarded by State Superintendent Tony Evers as part of the 'Standing Up For Rural Wisconsin' program. The project provides 3D modeling and 3D printing technology and is said to be a way to bring a new type of manufacturing to a rural area. Evers says the K-12 aspect of FAB LAB is rare and received deep community support...


The tools to put in a cutting edge computer and production facility in more Wisconsin schools has been funded in the recently-concluded state budget.

The Joint Finance Committee included $500,000 to let qualifying school districts buy equipment for FAB LABS. Don Sidlowski is a citizen activist hoping to bring the Labs to many Northwoods schools. He says schools boards were interested in the labs, but the $50,000 capital equipment money was daunting.


Teachers from Ladysmith and Florence joined a workshop in Three Lakes this week to learn the ins and outs of technology in the school's Fab Lab.

It's short for Fabrication Lab...and it's made up of a series of digital tools and machines including a 3D printer and a laser engraver.

Three Lakes Fab Lab director Steve Yahr  says Fab Lab 101 for Teachers gets them familiar with the tech tools.


The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has brought together individuals and groups to help facilitate building more school Fab Labs.A Fab Lab works around a curriculum developed my M.I.T. and is computer based, using highest-speed internet to develop a type of locally based manufacturing facility.

Don Sidlowski from Three Lakes....


Three Lakes became the first K-12 school in Wisconsin this year to open a Fab Lab, based on a model from M.I.T., to teach computer manufacturing in a new way. The labs train people to produce goods using machines like 3-D printers. It's considered a model to aid rural economic development.

Don Sidlowski from Three Lakes is a member of a statewide consortium advocating for more broadband in rural areas and helped  get high speed internet into Three Lakes which led to the Fab Lab. The Three Lakes School Director of the Fab Lab  is Dr. Steve Yaher.


State Representative Mary Czaja of Irma thinks a model developed by Three Lakes could help northern school districts facing critical budget problems.

Three Lakes schools have opened a Fab Lab which is a public-private partnership as Czaja explains. It's a type of 3-D computer-based manufacturing. Czaja says the goal is to have a Fab Lab in every K-12 school in the 12th Senate District....

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Three Lakes School is now home to a Fab Lab.  It’s an educational workshop developed by MIT…that brings high-tech manufacturing and design techniques into the classroom. It’s an initiative that many hope will spur the future of manufacturing in the Northwoods. 

Standing next to a whirring laser cutter, science teacher Al Votis gives a tour of the machines and equipment that make up the Three Lakes School District’s brand new Fab Lab. 


Wisconsin's Lieutenant Governor stopped in Rhinelander Monday with money to expand the reach of broadband in the Northwoods.

Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Broadband Director  Tithi  Chattopadhyay presented three Northwoods high speed internet providers with grants to expand broadband fiber and wirless coverage.


A collaborative agreement between Oneida County Economic Development, Three Lakes High School and Nicolet College brings a large grant to support the development of a "Fab Lab", and related curriculum.

Department of Workforce Development Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry and David Anderson formally presented $132,000 for the "Certifiable Employability Project" for Three Lakes at the Grow North meeting in Minocqua.

Barry says the program allows high school students to get  one-of-a-kind state-of-the art training towards getting hired right out of school..