DTI Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo urged Filipino businesses and educational institutions to set up Fabrication Laboratories (Fablabs) to encourage innovation and creativity in industry, particularly for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

“The FabLab helps develop the local economy by providing better and more competitive products. It enhances the local MSME ecosystem, encourages start-ups, and develops entrepreneurs who create more jobs. Innovation and creativity are key to ensure that our MSMEs are at par with global market demands,” Rodolfo said.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently hosted a “Knowledge Sharing Seminar on Fabrication Laboratory” to raise awareness on the first Fab Lab facility in Bohol. Various representatives from the government, academe, and the private sector participated in the seminar which focused on the activities of the Bohol FabLab Facility, as well as its potential benefits to education and industry.

The Bohol Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) is a technical prototyping platform located at the Bohol Island State University (BISU). The first of its kind in the country, the Fablab has the potential to cater to prototyping and modeling requirements of micro, small, and medium enterprises in the province.

Participants of the seminar were shown a leg prosthesis printed at the Bohol Fablab using a 3D scanner and printer, the printed prosthesis can be produced at a fraction of the current prices. The project is a collaboration between Japanese volunteers in Iloilo and Bohol and local designers based at FabLab Bohol. Also shown was a house in Balilihan, Bohol, which was entirely built from precision cut marine plywood using a Shopbot and erected by using dowels/ties. Plywood cutting took two weeks using the facilties in FabLab Bohol while putting it together to form the house took only 3 days. The project was a collaborative effort between Architecture students from Keio University, FabLab Bohol, the Bohol Provincial Government and the Balilihan community. The Balilihan House is now being used as a day care center.

An upcoming project is the Plastic Bag Upcycling Project. The project is initially funded using Grassroots Participatory Budgetting (GPB) funds in collaboration with Tagbilaran City, DTI-Bohol, FabLab Bohol, BISU and JOCV/JICA. JICA has indicated that it will also extend fund support to the project.

The Fablab has various equipment, which can be used for prototyping and limited production applications such as wood working, molding, packaging for the processed food sector and the creation of prosthesis, and circuit boards. Industries present during the seminar conveyed their interest to collaborate and use the facilities of the Bohol Fablab.

The Bohol FabLab currently has the following equipment ready for use:

  • Laser cutter that makes 2D and 3D output
  • ShopBot for milling, cutting and carving of wood and other materials
  • Roland MDA 40A Small CNC Milling machine (used to manufacture circuit boards and precision parts)
  • Roland Versacam Print and Cut Equipment (Triple Head)
  • 3D Touch personal color 3D printer, scanner, and projector
  • LED TV, laptop, and video conferencing equipment
  • Sewing and embroidery machine
  • A suite of electronic components and programming tools for low-cost, high-speed micro-controllers.

The Bohol FabLab is co-funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Bohol Island State University (BISU), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is under the mentorship of Japan’s prestigious Keio University. (END)