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!

Claudius: Design is the core of what we do and what we’re all passionate about, but hardly our only focus. Design, at LAUDO, stands more for designing a whole strategy, often very close connected with marketing. We’re developing websites and apps for our clients, but also help them reach their target audience through SEO, Google ranking developing newsletter systems, print brochures etc.

Claudius: A lot of other companies are seeing themselves as a service provider and don’t really question what their client wants and why. We pay very close attention if the work we provide for a client is in line with our personal values and vision. It’s not just delivering a product to the client, getting the pay check and leaving, but also building relationships with clients and collaborating. Because they are often our doors to new opportunities.

‘’We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’’

Orietta: I think one thing that make us stand out on the market and our strength number one is the team. We’re a small team and we all look in the same direction and have the same approach and vision. That makes the communication go smoothly.

Joey: Another thing is that we have a very hands-on approach. We are the guys, who say: ‘’Okay, let’s do it’’. That’s our culture.

After you’ve taken care of your paperwork and you’ve signed up both in Bürger- and Finanzamt, you are all set up to start working. One of the best ways to get integrated into the city fast, meet like-minded people, and even find clients is by working from a coworking space. There are tons of benefits for freelancers and luckily Berlin has a lot to offer in this way. A coworking space is a physically collaborative shared workspace, which brings all kinds of creatives and entrepreneurs together. It’s a perfect place for startups, freelancers, digital nomads and even corporates searching for innovation. And it’s the biggest advantage towards the typical office space is that it pushes a collaborative exchange between its members and facilitates the creative process and networking.

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