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Christoph Fahle
August 27, 2012

Bram De Vries

Bram De Vries came to Berlin from the 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.

Join Bram and other entrepreneurs at betahaus! Click here to see how to become a member!

In addition to the betahaus locations, we've formed a close relationship with some of the world's best coworking spaces. With your betahaus membership, you can work from any of our partner spaces for 1 day per month.

Coworking Spaces in Europe

Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark

Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France

Le Laptop - Coworking Paris

utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain

utopic_US - Coworking Madrid

Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nest 71 - Coworking Bosnia & Herzegovina

  

Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy

Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK

Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece

 

CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway

CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal

SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia

Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway

Tøyen Startup Village - Coworking Oslo

Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia

Smart Coworking - Coworking Prague

Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal

Lighthouse - Coworking Tel Aviv

Coworking Spaces in North America

Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days

  

Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Coworking Spaces in South America

Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Area Tres - Coworking Buenos Aires

 

HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

HubBOG - Coworking Bogota

Coworking Spaces in Asia

CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號

CIT - Coworking Taipe

 

Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India

 

Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia

Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

Midori.so - Coworking Tokyo

Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines

Coworking Spaces in Australia

Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia

Coworking Spaces in Africa

Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt

Urban Station EGYPT - Coworking Cairo

Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Garage - Coworking Nairobi

 

BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay

 

Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.



Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK


Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !

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