A new café has opened in Shoreditch, east London, that allows users the opportunity to have a coffee while printing their creations using 3DSystems' CubeX 3D printers and laser cutting printers.
MakersCafe is the brainchild of Soner Ozenc, a product designer and mechanical engineer who started an online design studio called RazorLabs in 2006, where users could upload their designs, which the company then engraved and cut out using laser-cutting and engraving printers.
Although the service was good for independent businesses and big brands such as Apple, Selfridges and O2, Ozenc decided to launch a physical presence that would be able to bring these technologies to the public.
"At the moment, people keep seeing these new technologies [in the media] but there isn't much going on, on the street, [like] a place where they can actually touch the samples," Ozenc told IBTimes UK at the launch event on Thursday 21 August.
"Customers will have a chance to see the actual machines and the idea is they will come with their ideas and will witness their ideas becoming physical objects."
The MakersCafe charges by the minute for both laser cutting and 3D-printing, so users don't have to pay for the materials, just for the time taken to produce designs, with charges starting from £1 per minute ($1.66).
Customers will have to bring their own laptops to the café. They are encouraged to brainstorm for ideas there, then either make their creations with open-source 3D design software, such as Rhino or Google SketchUp, or pay the café to create the file in the software for them.
Once the design is complete, the staff will print the items out in-store, or off-site at Hobs Studio, a digital printing company working in partnership with MakersCafe that can accept more ambitious projects and larger orders.
MakersCafe is not the first 3D-printing café in the world – there are already similar venues in Beijing, Berlin and Barcelona. However, it is a clear sign that 3D-printing is becoming more prominent as a technology in the UK for not just designers and hobbyists, but also regular consumers.
Ozenc added: "In the daytime, people can come in to have their items laser-cut or 3D-printed, but after 6pm, MakersCafe will be running workshops, talks and parties to make digital manufacturing more accessible to the public."