In October 2016, the Nerve Centre in partnership with the Outer North NR Partnership and the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership and with support from the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (now Department of Communities) and Northside Development Trust have come together to develop a new Fablab 'FAB:Social'at Unit 32, Northwest Business Park.

Fab:Social is a joint project of the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership, Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership and the Nerve Centre. We provide training and access to digital fabrication machinery such as 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and CNC Shop Bot using Open Source software.

We support knowledge transfer to the community and foster social enterprise. Dream it, make it, share it!

Testing out our Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer today. These wee Robots are a hit with everyone, young and old

FabLabs are a concept developed by the Centre for Bits and Atoms at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which bring digital disruption to manufacturing, education, employment and learning. Fab Labs (Fabrication Laboratories) effectively allow individuals across a very wide spectrum of skills and abilities to design and build almost anything that they can imagine. At the practical level this means that users and beneficiaries are empowered to create and build items from self powering radio's to laptop computers to furniture right through to the fabrication of entire houses. The build skills required to undertake such tasks are relatively simple, using a series of machines sourced by MIT.


Prior to the advent of the Fab Lab such equipment was generally restricted to research laboratories for the development of prototypes and new learning. Fab Lab has delivered the potential of this evolving technology into the hands and communities of people outside of such institutions and opened a real world of empowered, relevant and meaningful physical creativity to all of us.

Since 2012 the Nerve Centre in Derry and the Ashton Centre in Belfast (both award-winning social enterprises) have operated Ireland’s first FabLabs. They are directly addressing the challenge of placing high-end skills and knowledge into the hands of the wider community – removing the need for University access and developing digital entrepreneurs and learning from new users who were previously prevented from entering the sector.

Staff Contact




Rachel Duffy FAB: SOCIAL Project Manager 028 71358063

[email protected]