The 3D printing hype of the early 2010s brought small, low-cost printers to many homes around the world. Groundbreaking technology was suddenly within reach of thousands of designers, engineers, hobbyists, schools, and everyday consumers that wanted to create their own projects.
Photo Credit: Creative tools
But even as technology becomes more affordable, you still need to spend in between $500 and 6K USD to get your hands on a decent 3D printer these days. The solution if you still want to discover 3D printing? Try before you buy. Where? In a Maker Lab - also called Fab Labs, Hacker or Maker spaces.
These are normally DIY spaces where people can meet to create and invent new things. They often supply you with 3D printers, software, electronics, craft, hardware supplies and all kinds of tools. Many of these creative spaces also normally offer classes and workshops to get you up and running with all things tech and creativity. You can usually visit the spaces on an open evening before signing up for a very inexpensive monthly membership. Also, they often are community-based, which can make it all more fun and enriching.
We’ve done some research on Maker Labs worldwide and have put together a list of them in 4 cities in the world: Melbourne (Australia), San Francisco, Los Angeles (US) and London (GB). Discover them below!
Makerlab: Experts in 3D printers that supply 3D printers to schools, and conduct 3D printing workshops to teach individuals how to use these machines.
CCHS is a community-operated workshop run by a group of like-minded members located in Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia. People can gather and work on challenging technology projects
Make-Create: An open community Maker Lab in Brunswick (Melbourne), Australia. They have the latest tools and technology that they open to the public on a regular basis. No matter if you’re an experienced maker, or if you’re just curious about what a 3D Printer is.
Footscray Maker Lab: A shared facility providing open space for small-scale workshops and projects.They are into metal work, robotics, furniture making, glasswork, 3D printing, lighting design, pottery, and much more.
Space Tank Studios: Gives emerging makers the opportunity to transform knowledge into a working prototype. Self-regulation and access to enabling equipment also provided.
Tech Shop: They define themselves as, “a community-based workshop and prototyping studio on a mission to democratise access to the tools of innovation”. You’ll get cutting-edge tools, equipment and computers with design software. You can also choose from a variety of classes and workshops.
Autodesk Pier 9: Workshop on the San Fransicso Bay, a community of designers, engineers, artists and product innovators. They explore new ways of making things, using cutting edge production and machinery. Their 3D Print Shop features a variety of rapid prototyping tools, including industrial 3D printers with a wide range of print materials, laser cutters, 3D scanners and more.
Noisebridge: Its 5,200 square-foot space contains an electronics lab, machine/wood shop and sewing/crafting supplies. A space for technical-creative projects of evry kind.
San Francisco Public Library: Here’s another interesting initiative from the Public Library, a space for teens between 13 and 18, where they can learn how to design a useful object than can be printed afterwards.
Hex lab Makerspace: A communityv workshop that gives people access to learn new crafts and use specialised tools such as 3D printing.
LA Makerspace: Another cool initiative for kids, the LA Makerspace help children learn Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths, including 3D printing!
Urban workshop: Facility designed to put a complete range of tools and equipment at your command so you can work on your own projects. They also offer training on every piece of equipment in the facility.
Burbank Makerspace: A 3D printshop and learning hub that helps you makeyour 3D printing project real. They offer their creativity and expertise with cutting edge technology for use for a variety of projects, large and small.
South London Makerspace: A non-profit social community workshop that includes three main wokspaces, each geared towards a certain sort of making. The Clean Area includes a 3D printer.
Create Space London: A brand new space opening this November. Whether an artist, designer, maker, hacker, programmer or tinkerer, this is a space for you. The over 400 square meters of workshop facilities include 3D printer and, they say, unbeatable views over Mill Hill.
London Hackspace: A community-run workshop where people come to share tools and knowledge. They also have dedicated classrooms and workshops.
Richmond Makerlabs: An all-inclusive space for people with an interest in DIY and carft. The space features computer facilities, electronics lab, laser cutting, 3D prinitng and more.
If you’re from another place that’s not listed in this article, make sure you check for a Maker Lab near you. There are plenty of them everywhere.
Do you have other suggestions or ideas? Leave us a comment below and let’s start a conversation :)
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