Fab Lab

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     STEM Scouts are coming to Rhinelander this fall. STEM Scouts is a co-ed pilot program created by the Boy Scouts of America that gives young people a chance to do activities focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Senior STEM Executive for the Samoset Council in Weston, Amanda Flannery, says STEM is a major focus in education as there aren't enough people to fill engineering positions, IT professionals and the like.

Samoset Council Boy Scouts of America

For the past two years, a new scouting program has been gaining steady growth and popularity in the Northwoods.

It's called STEM Scouts: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is at the heart of the program for students in 3rd grade through high school. Tested five years ago in only one Boy Scouts of America council in Knoxville, TN it was rolled out in 2015 as a pilot program to just twelve councils nationwide.


Rhinelander School District is offering the public an expanded chance to learn and do in its state-of-the-art Fab Lab.

A fabrication laboratory is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication. The lab is typically equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools covering several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make technology-enabled products.

School district spokesperson Mike Cheslock says it's a more in-depth approach...


Fabrication Labs have been springing up at area K-12 schools after Three Lakes schools had the first one in the state in 2014.

Now Rhinelander is opening it's Fab Lab for public open house on October 21. Senior High Principal David Ditzler says the lab is a state of the art teacher...

"....it was a grant-developed classroom facility that allows students to create, design and fabricate things using some very new technologies..."

Gov. Walker Says More Money Coming For Fab Labs

Sep 7, 2017
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Governor Walker says the recently-approved state budget has good news for schools hoping to put in FAB LABS in K-12 districts.

Walker Thursday stopped in Three Lakes, the site of the state's first fabrication lab  in a K-12 setting, and said after the protracted budget debate, money for the labs has grown in the state budget...

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.

Three Lakes Teaches Other School Districts About Fab Lab

Jul 2, 2015

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....