The Southwest: October 2019 — Day 8


The Fab School, Rancho Cucamonga, CA – 10 October 2019: This morning I drove the rest of the way to our southern California location for the Ladies Offroad Challenge Top Ten Weekend event, where we gathered from all parts of the U.S.A. and Canada to join Charlene Bower in a weekend of surprises as our reward for completing the challenge with the highest points total. None of us knew anything about what we would do for the weekend, but we all came willingly with excitement and trust in Charlene to make it awesome. After settling in to our “home base” location we piled into the white van nicknamed “zippy” and headed to our first stop, which turned out to be The Fab School in Rancho Cucamonga. Started by Troy Johnson, The Fab School is a unique training resource for the fabrication industry where students learn the fundamentals of metal fabrication, digital design and manufacturing. With a focus on off-road race vehicles at the core, the instructors at The Fab School take pride in sharing their skills, expertise, and industry knowledge with students, and on this occasion with our LON group. It was an exciting beginning to our weekend, and we were shown around the school where we learned about how they train the next generation of metal fabricators. We got to meet some of the students, see how metal is cut into complex designs with the Amada laser cutter and even got some hands-on welding time. We also got to check out a few racecars. The training program sounds interesting, and it almost made me wish I was younger and starting over, as this kind of metal fabrication is closer to art and design than to what we think of as “manufacturing”. And I reflected also on my Dad, who worked in metal fabrication for years — I had warm memories of visiting the factory as a child, and the awesome fantastical machines that stamped and cut sheets and rolls of steel into intricate parts. The sounds and smells of the old factory were a far cry from this modern custom fabrication process, but it all blended into a moment of nostalgia that fueled my own desire to learn more…

Other people’s photos: FAB SCHOOL