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BRAM DE VRIES

Bram De Vries came to Berlin from Netherlands this April and immediately got involved into local Fab Lab network, developing the Fab Café project together with Amin Zayani.

-       What is your professional background? How did you discover 3D printing?

I am a mechanical engineer. But once I graduated and worked about 3 years for the industry, I realized that I would prefer to do something more interesting and more useful for the world. At this moment I discovered technologies for third world countries and decided to study cultural anthropology to know a bit more about the cultural aspect of this field. After graduation I worked for developing countries, as it was planned, but to earn a bit more money, as a side job I worked as a 3D designer. One day there was a client who wanted not only a model, but also a final 3D printed prototype and that`s how 3D printing got started in my life.

-       As far as I know 3D printers back then were barely accessible, how did you manage to get into all the technical details?

I was obviously interested to get to know more about 3D printing after that very fist client. And once I heard that a workshop on building your own 3D printer was happening in town, I was there. Moreover, I really liked the idea of open source approach to 3D printing, since it had obvious social benefits. But with all my appreciation to this approach from the social perspective, I had to admit that I really didn`t like it from the technical perspective. These machines were too troublesome, and I wanted to make something different with the Fab Café project.

-       How did you get involved into the Fab Café project?

Well, I came to Berlin from Netherlands not that long ago, this April. Sometime before going to Germany, I started a bit of networking, asking my friends if they know some guys from Fab Lab community I could cooperate with in Berlin. One of the contacts was Jay Cousins, co-founder of the Open Design City, so I entered the betahaus. Then there was an inspiring open call for establishment of the 1st Fab Café in Berlin on the betahaus web page, and I joined in. At the first Fab Café meeting I also got to know Amin, with whom we are working together now.

-       In which direction would you like to lead the Fab Café project? What are your main goals?

We picked up the 3D printer, which is more secure and productive than those, which are open source. We would like our Orca to produce 3D printed models constantly, to make it visible for others, to introduce 3D printing facilities to a wide audience.  We would like people to get inspired by the technique of 3D printing, get access to it, start creating and experimenting together with us. My personal goal is to find experienced and interested people, to work on the exploration of 3D printing together further on.

-       What is actually 3D printing? What are the possibilities of a 3D printer?

3D printing is building up an object layer by layer, depending on the machine, it could be done out of plastic, metal or even wood. Besides the whole variety of various objects, which you could find on thingiverse, 3D printing is now used in most unexpected ways – 3D printing organs and even food.

The greatest thing about 3D printing is ”haptics”. This complicated word means that you can feel, touch and try out the 3D model which is very different from just seeing your prototype on the computer screen. It gives completely new opportunities for quick and affective prototyping. Moreover, nowadays basically anything could be 3D printed, only depends on facilities of a particular machine.

-       When are you going to launch the Fab Café in betahaus?

We already got our 3D printer, but within the testing phase we got some technical problems, which we needed to solve and explore.  3D printing is a very new technology. New in a way, that affordable 3D printers appeared not that long ago and are produced by a one-man company. It is not a standard mass manufacturing, so every machine is unique, should be personally approached and may have some child-disease every now and then, which are curable, but require some time. Our baby is already almost healthy, and will show up in betahaus Fab Café in about 1-2 weeks.


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