Non-fabber taking credit for our fablab

Hi, weird question here.

We have a person who is a paying member, but has never built anything nor used any of the machines. They don’t even know how. But they are going around saying they are a fablab expert because they are a member here - even to the point of making very superficial presentations at conferences. It’s getting a bit annoying to say the least. We’ve asked them to stop but they won’t.

How do/would you deal with this?


Hi Paul,

Sorry to hear this. Is there a membership agreement that the individual signed, and if so, what are the terms? This could be one way to address the issue if they are in violation of any of the terms. If you do not have membership agreements, time to create one with terms to prevent this in the future.

Document your requests to this person with emails. If they continue, seek legal counsel in your area. Perhaps one of your members is or knows appropriate counsel. Sometimes just a letter from an attorney can be effective.

Good luck!

Hi Paul

can you think of this person differently – how to make them an ambassador for your lab? Or is it too late already (as you might have offended them by asking them to stop)?

Just my 2c


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Thanks. I think it’s more modification of future terms of our membership agreement. There is a membership agreement, but in four years we’ve never needed a “don’t pretend to be an expert in something you’re not” clause.

Hi Peter,

This would be nice. The problem is that the level of understanding the person has is so trivial as to damage the reputation of the lab. If an expert from this lab knows so little the lab cannot be up to much, type thing. We’d much prefer he actually learned how to do a few things! We do have a few “ambassadors” who have all made something, and critically, none of them claim to be an expert. I have no problem with people saying they’re part of the community, or even are a member, but to claim expertise in digital fabrication when you have never made anything ever seems to me a step too far. As you know, most real makers work out very quickly how little they actually know.

That’s not to criticise those of you who study the maker movement! That’s a different, and very useful, level of expertise.