Part coffee shop, part events space, Makers Café was founded by product designer Soner Ozenc, who also runs an online laser cutting service, RazorLAB. The space houses several 3D printers as well as laser cutting and engraving machines, and hosts events ranging from 3D printed supper clubs to learning lunches with creative speakers. There are also plans to host catwalk events showcasing 3D printed fashion and a pop-up hotel room full of 3D printed furnishings.
Customers at Makers Café pay for printing times rather than materials (prices start at around £1 per minute), and can bring in their own design files, or Makers Café staff can create files for an extra fee. The aim of the café, says Ozenc, is to provide a space where anyone can come to find out more about 3D printing, and receive help turning their ideas into physical objects.
“A lot of people find this kind of manufacturing intimidating, as it’s usually done behind closed doors, and requires some specialist knowledge – but here, anyone can come by and see how the machines work,” he explains. Through offering a design consultancy service, Ozenc hopes to make 3D printing accessible to people who lack the knowledge to create 3D design files, and encourage more manufacturing at a local level. “I want people to have fun and experiment,” he adds.
As Ozenc points out, 3D printing is still expensive and not suitable for every type of object, but it can be used for prototypes and small items from toys to homeware. It’s still a fairly niche activity, but with similar digital fabrication cafes already open in Tokyo, Barcelona, Bangkok and Taipei, and Ozenc planning franchises in the UK and US, perhaps it will soon become a more mainstream activity.
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Digital fabrication studio in Glasgow running workshops and hands-on learning events, as well as a drop-in design and prototyping consultation service. A range of 3D printers and scanners for hire.
A global network of open access labs supported by Fab Foundation, set up by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Labs are open to the public and most run community events. UK locations include Manchester, Yorkshire, Devon, Belfast and Cornwall.
Fab Café opened a digital fabrication café in Tokyo in 2012, and has since set up outlets in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Spain. Like Makers Café, it hosts regular events and laser cutting and 3D printing machines.