May 3, 2016 | By Tess

One of the key principles behind 3D printing and the maker community is the idea of accessibility, that everyone should be able to become a maker and have access to both 3D printers, 3D files and 3D modeling software. With platforms like Thingiverse, free softwares like Meshmixer, and 3D printers now available for under $300, this accessibility has grown over the past years. Additionally, places like universities, which are equipped with the technology, have offered their facilities to students to develop and research in their respective fields. Recently, one university, the Technical University of Berlin (TU), has gone one step further in making additive manufacturing accessible as it has actually opened a student run “3D Printing Repair Café”.

The 3D Printing Repair Café, which celebrated its opening last week on April 27th, will provide all students (and even non-students) with a space to tinker with 3D printing technology, whether they need a spare bicycle part, a model of a design they are making, or even just a custom gift. The space is equipped with Ultimaker brand 3D printers and was launched in support by the Society of Friends of TU Berlin, who funded the 3D Printing Repair Café’s first printer and tools.

Not only will the space offer students access to 3D printers, but it will also help to foster the university’s maker community by offering a number of workshops and events that they hope will bring up the exchange of interdisciplinary ideas. The workshops will tackle such areas as building DIY 3D printers, as well as the familiarization with the machines and hand tools. The events, which will carry on through the summer 2016 semester, will deal with such topics as sustainable inventions and economies, sharing economy, and open hardware and open source technologies and information.

The student run initiative is currently being funded by an “honesty box” which covers the cost of materials, donations, grants, and sponsorships. In an effort to make the space as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible, the organizers are also planning on exclusively using recyclable cartridges and eco-friendly filaments.

For those in the Berlin area who want to check out the innovative space, the 3D Printing Repair Café is located at TU’s Charlottenburg Campus. And for those not based in Germany, the student run initiative is still worth reading about, as it provides a model for an innovative and creative space that could be applied at nearly any university.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Service

 

 

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