What do you do if you’re a designer with an amazing idea for a product, but no way to make it? There might a huge buzz around 3D printing, but we’re still a long way off from everyone having a machine at home. If you’re in London, you can head to Mak3d, the world’s first 3D printing co-working environment! Launched in August this year, Mak3d occupies a 1,000 square foot space on East London’s buzzing Brick Lane.
Founded by Nick Allen of 3D printing bureau 3dprintuk, the Mak3d coworking space’s in-house equipment includes a 3D scanner and an Objet30 high definition 3D printer, which produces models from a resin called Vero White Plus.
Allen noticed that though there were co-working spaces in London, most catered to individuals in the technology industry or computer-based designers, and there weren’t many spaces for makers that needed to make noise, and a maybe a bit of a mess. Individuals with ideas can come to the Mak3d space, and working from CAD files, sketches or even just a description, the concept can be turned into a physical model, either with the help of 3dprintuk’s designers, or if the person has the skills, they can do it themselves.
3D designers who rent desk space get access to the 3D scanner and reduced rates for printing. Current residents include a toy designer and jewelry designer Rob Elford, with room for more. Desk space for 3D designers starts at £200 a month, but there’s also the option of free workspace for designers skilled at 3D modelling who are willing to contribute 2 hours a week in work.
Reflecting the enthusiasm for the technology, there are more work enquiries than Allen can handle, and he’s actively seeking investment to add more printers to expand the Mak3d space’s capabilities and meet demand. In the last year alone, Allen estimates he’s made over 3,000 printed models and objects for more than 800 clients, including Jaguar Land Rover, Bucati and the BBC. Typical clients might include architects and product designers, but he’s also made icing molds for the food industry and for London 2012, mini versions of the Olympic Stadium that were on display in the Olympic village.
The Mak3d space is also home to Brikstarter, which aims to support Kickstarter projects with design, costing, and pledge videos. The model is based on taking 10 percent of the pledged amount, and a 10 percent share in the product or company. The vision is to go beyond business interest in 3D printing to reach the hobbyist and consumer markets. Who knows? The next big thing just might come out of the Mak3d co-working space.