Back in high school, my friends and I would go to a lot of different places to hang out, away from our parents. We would go to the Steak ‘n Shake by the mall and gorge ourselves on skinny French fries and thick milkshakes. If it was warm outside, there was a local hangout with picnic tables in the front, and we’d sit on top of the tables and eat ice cream cones that came with candy googly eyes. But all that changed when a Starbucks was built up the road. Taking over all of the overstuffed chairs and drinking sugary, caffeinated beverages until closing time became THE thing to do; I shudder now to think about my poor parents when I came rolling in with a caffeine buzz at midnight. I can’t remember if I’d ever even tried coffee before ordering some kind of chocolate frappuccino there, but I do know that I never stopped after my first evening at Starbucks.
So, what’s better than sitting around drinking coffee with your friends and talking? Drinking coffee with your friends and creating, or enjoying, 3D printed objects! The concept of a 3D printing café is not new – Barcelona’s 3D printing hub and café, FabCafe, opened back in 2014, and a British caterer launched a Kickstarter campaign last year to create the first café fully dedicated to 3D printed food; each 3D printed treat would, in theory, arrive to the customer’s table with a tea, soft drink, or cup of coffee. New York’s Sugarcube Dessert and Coffee uses a 3D modeling program and 3D printer to create fancy dessert molds, and Dayton, Ohio’s Proto BuildBar also has coffee and pastries available, though the first time I visited, I indulged in whiskey instead. At the Create Cafe in Saskatoon, Canada, you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee, and use their 3D printers for an hour or two.
On CBC Radio’s ‘Saskatoon Morning’, Create Cafe’s co-founder Dustin Maki said, “I’ve always seen the ‘internet cafe’ model as giving people access to technology that was kind of new and up and coming.”
If you take a look at the café’s chalkboard menus, you won’t see any pastries or sandwiches, but you will find a variety of hot beverages, from lattes to chai to hot chocolate. You can also take a look at the rates for using one of the café’s 3D printers. It’s a smart way to get people interested in new technologies: combine the learning experience with coffee and a friendly atmosphere.
Dustin Maki shows off a guitar 3D printed at Create Cafe. [Image: Steve Pasqualotto/CBC News]
Maki said, “Having a comfortable cafe definitely opens the doors to more people to experience what 3D printing is about.”
Create Cafe favors MakerBot 3D printers, but according to owner/operator Randy Janes, they also have the largest 3D printer in North America on site in the café – the Printtron.
Janes said, “We can literally print you a full size boat, you can put a motor in it and take it in the water.”
If you don’t feel the need to 3D print a boat, but are still interested in taking a look at the Printtron, it’s on display in the Create Cafe, so you can watch it while it works. This large scale 3D printer prints objects in meters, as opposed to millimeters, and according to the Create Cafe website, it is “capable of build volumes never seen before in Canada.”
A set of chess pieces 3D printed at Create Cafe. [Image: Dustin Maki via CBC News]
It will only cost you $15 per hour to use one of the café’s three MakerBot printers (for PLA and ABS material use only), and you can purchase 3D printing filaments and supplies in the café. The café also has WiFi, and there are two available computer stations, complete with modeling software, so you can work on your designs or file preparation while enjoying an espresso. They know that the café will likely attract a significant number of hobbyists who want to 3D print the classic Yoda figurine, but Maki and Janes hope that the Create Cafe will attract local businesses who want to save money.
“One of the things that 3D printing does, especially for industry is it offers them an affordable way to do prototyping,” said Maki. “If you’re a company that’s trying to get through these difficult times and you have to do some sort of R and D we’re definitely a good fit.”
The members of the Create Cafe team want to bring 3D printing all across Canada, and continue building on the global open-sourced projects that gave the consumer printer revolution its start. The team members have various backgrounds in sales, design, machining, and mechanical and electrical engineering, so they are able to complete a full product cycle in days. They plan on offering both beginner and advanced 3D modeling and printing workshops later this year.
[Image: Create Cafe via Facebook]
They also create custom inventory, focused mostly on professional gaming, in the café’s Create Forge division. All of their custom merchandise requires the creation of an initial 3D logo file for the company (one-time cost of $65), and then Create Forge can make custom team or personal merchandise, which is perfect for promotional branding or even gifts. Create Cafe’s corporate services include:
- Consultation services: $100/hour, by appointment
- 3D printing design services: $100-$150/hour
- Prototyping services: $20/hour + materials and set-up
- Event services: Create Cafe will supply 3D printers and materials for corporate events, and also design a custom piece that represents your organization
- Large-scale printing with the Printtron
Create Cafe is also on 3D Hubs.
You can also check out what Create Cafe calls the “world’s most 3D printed 3D printer,” their affordable consumer YXE3D SLA 3D printer, which just opened for pre-sales earlier this month — helmed by CEO/Founder Dustin Maki.
Discuss in the Create Cafe forum at 3DPB.com.
Watch their video to learn more:
[Source: CBC News]