August 10, 2014; Cambridge, MA – The Fab Foundation is pleased to announce a donation of 3D design software from the Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS Corporation to the more than 350 facilities in the Fab Lab Network. Each official Fab Lab will be eligible to receive one Commercial license of the SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD program Premium version. In addition, Fab Labs that are sites for the Fab Academy’s How to Build (Almost) Anything course will be able to get a 10-seat network license of the 3D CAD SOLIDWORKS Education Edition.

The donation was announced by Marie Planchard, SOLIDWORKS’ Director of the Education Community at the recent Fab10 International Fab Lab Meeting in Barcelona, Spain. “Since our founding in 1995,” explains Ms. Planchard, “SOLIDWORKS has wanted to be more than just a supplier. To formally achieve that goal, we instituted a number of programs that help users ranging from our active SOLIDWORKS Community to a project identifying startup companies that need technical support to assisting First Robotics teams. There are 28,000 schools that teach with SOLIDWORKS and 240 SOLIDWORKS user groups around the world with the underlying principle to share knowledge and expand capabilities for everyone to succeed in their design and digital fabrication projects.”

Fab Foundation Director Sherry Lassiter says the SOLIDWORKS contribution comes at a perfect time for Fab Labs. “As our network is growing, Fab Lab projects are becoming more complex. To support those projects, the Fab Foundation wants to provide Fabbers with the resources they need to produce the powerful digital fabrication work that is impacting lives around the world. The SOLIDWORKS contribution is a beautiful gift to everyone who participates in a Fab Lab.”Ms. Lassiter expands upon the importance of the Fab Academy contribution: “Registration for our “How to Build (Almost) Anything” course is also increasing and the availability of SOLIDWORKS software will give students access to a sophisticated design tool for creating their projects.”

The collaboration between SOLIDWORKS and the Fab Foundation grew out of the Fab Lab program at the [CBA], where the digital fabrication laboratories, or , originated. Explains Ms. Planchard, “FormLabs, a 3D Printing company founded by graduates of MIT’s CBA, was one of the startups we mentored with CAD software help. We were also introduced to the CBA by Leigh Christie, MIT instructor and director of eatART, who creates mechatronic devices for art museums in order to inspire students in STEM education. Seeing these great connections, SOLIDWORKS knew we wanted to have a close relationship with the Fab Lab Network.”

Designers see SOLIDWORKS as one of the most intuitive CAD programs for 3D design on the market. The easy user interface comes from the software company’s understanding of the designer’s specific application. Whether for education, rapid prototyping, design consulting or industrial product development, the user interface speeds up the design process. For companies such as Hasbro or Hamilton Beach time to market is essential for competitive advantage and SOLIDWORKS helps bring these manufacturers to positions as industry leaders. Advanced features of SOLIDWORKS software include an easier interface to machine code that can be key in getting a design manufactured, as well as sustainable design assistance.

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD can be used to drive all the tools in a Fab Lab including laser cutters and markers, ShopBot CNC milling machines, 3D Printers, and other digital fabrication machines. The application for qualified Fab Labs to receive the software is available through the Fab Foundation website.


The Fab Foundation was formed February 9, 2009 to facilitate and support the growth of the international fab lab network through the development of regional Fab Foundations and organizations. The Fab Foundation is a US non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that emerged from MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program. Our mission is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, and thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world. Community organizations, educational institutions and non-profit concerns are our primary beneficiaries. The Foundation has three programmatic foci: education (.edu), organizational capacity building and services (.org), and business opportunity (.com).

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