Fab16 Conference Kicks Off August 9th at SOLIDWORKS Waltham Campus

Each year, makers from more than 2000 Fab Labs worldwide gather to share, collaborate, explore and fabricate together in the annual meeting (FabX) of the international fab lab network hosted by The Fab Foundation, the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT, and a host fab lab. The venue varies from year to year around the world. In 2018, the Fab14 conference took place in Toulouse, France, while in 2019, Fab15 was hosted in Cairo and El-Gouna, Egypt.

Last year, in the wake of the pandemic, the event took a virtual avatar and drew in over 3000 participating fab labs, makers and innovators from across the world, creating a hugely successful virtual event. Makers will be able to join Fab16 Montreal online from August 9-15, 2021 and in certain cases, physically in their local labs, thus making it a hybrid and distributed event.

Dassault Systemés  SOLIDWORKS is the founding CAD partner with The Fab Foundation and offers easy access of its powerful 3D solutions to members of the global network of fab labs. Continuing the tradition of the past many years, SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Lab are sponsoring this year’s Fab16 mega-event, which is estimated to reach over 2000 Fab Labs in 126 countries, and have over 3000 participants: makers, eco-friendly designers, industrialists, artists, teachers, researchers, and more.

On August 9th, 10th and 12th (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday) of FAB16, there will be virtual plenary sessions followed by virtual and local workshops, opportunities to meet with our sponsors, and Academany (Fab Academy and Fabricademy) graduation. On Wednesday, August 11th, there will be a 12-hour broadcast from the fab lab network, and August 13-14 (Friday-Saturday) you can join Fab City Summit, creating locally productive and globally connected cities.

On the first day, August 9th, proceedings for the Boston distributed hub will take place in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab at Waltham, MA, which has emerged as a vital node in the network of fab labs.

3DEXPERIENCE Lab Boston was set up in collaboration with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and The Fab Foundation at Dassault Systemés  Waltham Campus.


After the inaugural session with Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of the Center for Bits at MIT, and Sherry Lassiter, CEO and President of The Fab Foundation, there will be a plenary session followed by an exciting announcement by Marie Planchard, Senior Director for Education and Early Engagement at SOLIDWORKS.

Prof. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms with Shawn Liu, R&D Director- Cross Applications at SOLIDWORKS and Abhishek Bali, 3DEXPERIENCE Lab North America Senior Manager during Fab15 at Cairo and El-Gouna, Egypt.


The Academany Graduation will be live-streamed from Dassault Systemés  SOLIDWORKS campus from Noon until 1pm and Dr. Gershenfeld will moderate the ceremony. Dassault Systemés  SOLIDWORKS has sponsored over 20 scholarships to students of Fab Academy and Fabricademy in the past few years, and these students have pursued fantastic projects in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab in Waltham.

This will be an amazing opportunity for these students to be in the Lab again and meet Dr. Gershenfeld in person. This year, four Fab Academy and two Fabricademy students successfully graduated from 3DEXPERIENCE Lab Boston node: Xialoin (Linda) Zhen, Jonathan Cherry, Nicholas Anastasia and Griffin van Horne, Kate Reed and Tania Velasquez. These students were duly supported and mentored for six months by Academany instructors – Greg Buckland, Spencer Mewherter, Oye Ajewole and Luciano Betoldi.

Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms with graduates of Academany during Fab15 at Cairo and El-Gouna, Egypt.


Right after the graduation, there will be three hands-on workshops running in parallel at the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab facility from 2.30pm to 4.30pm ET, inviting local makers to participate in person. Dassault Systemés  is also bringing a total of five workshops to the Fab16 online programming, including:

  • Creating a fun learning experience with SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids Classroom, by Chin-Loo Lama from SOLIDWORKS and Aidan Mullaney from The Fab Foundation
  • 3D Modeling and Design with Jason Pohl, by Jason Pohl
  • Learn to Use & Fit the LN4 Prosthetic Hand upon Amputees (provided to recipients at no cost), by Michael Mendonca from The Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation (EMPHF) and Jordan Tadic from SOLIDWORKS
  • What IF We could make a DIY fully autonomous R2-D2?, by Robert Jackson from OpenR2 Project
  • Beyond Biomimicry, with Kate Reed – Biomimetic Designer and Fabricademy’21 graduate
Shawn Liu and Sal Lama, 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Roles Portfolio Engineering Director, conducting a workshop on SOLIDWORKS xDesign during Fab14 at Toulouse, France.


While these workshops will be spread out throughout the week of August 9-15, on Tuesday at 11.30 am ET, the SOLIDWORKS team will host a special Sponsor Session to talk in detail about the exciting new offerings for makers and fab labs from across the world.

This is going to be a fun-packed week for the entire community and we really want to thank the entire team at Dassault Systemés SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, including Suchit Jain, Frederic Vacher, Marie Planchard and Abhishek Bali, for their continuous support. Hope to see you all at the Fab16!!

Important Links:

About the event: https://fab16.fabevent.org/#about

Pre-register here: https://fab16.fabevent.org/tickets/

Boston Hub Event Registrations (including Dassault Systemés Reception and Workshops): https://eventbrite.com/c/fab16-mtl-boston-hub-ccbhzpxr–8zvmQc8n7hIL

Note: The following blog was written by Rebecca Ottinger, General Manager, Programs and Administration, Fab Foundation.


Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.