The MakerZpace: 3D Printing (and more) at Colab

Matthias Hüni · 8 minutes · 11 months ago

160409_Header_Blog_MakerZpace
Photos by
Matthias Hüni

There is a magic corner in the attic of the coworking space at Colab: a small workshop space providing not only the usual tools you would find in a regular workshop, but also being equipped with 3D printers, commonly recognized as the tools of the 4th industrial revolution. We named it the “MakerZpace”, a prototyping laboratory for Hardware Startups and community members who want to craft their ideas into tangible products.

3D Printing…

Most 3D printers create physical objects by putting together multiple layers of materials. Everything starts with a digital 3D model, usually created using CAD (computer aided design) software or 3D scanning techniques. This model needs to be converted (or “sliced”) into 3D printing instructions, a crucial process where the characteristics (e.g. strength or weight) of the physical product are determined. Finally, the 3D printer receives and executes these manufacturing instructions, taking its time from several minutes for small objects (like our keychain giveaways) up to several hours or even days for bigger things.

 

The MakerZpace currently features two midrange fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers and a high-end stereolithography (SLA) printer. While we use the FDM printers mainly for 3D printing workshops and for producing give-aways like the keychain in the picture above, the SLA printer with its minimum resolution of 0.003 mm (3 Micrometres) plays a crucial role in the rapid prototyping process of one of the hardware startups here at Impact Hub Colab. Unfortunately we cannot show these prototypes here due to IP restrictions.

 

…and more

We founded a tribe to take care of the MakerZpace and its machinery and tools. Tribe members bring their own equipment to the workshop and teach others how to use it, embracing the idea of the sharing economy. Thanks to this effort, we can already provide access to mid- and high-range electronics development tools (soldering tools, oscilloscopes, signal generators, power sources and more), electronics and robotics prototyping equipment. We’re also looking forward to receive a bunch of Swisscom LPN IoT development kits to play with as well as hosting the Open Device Lab Zürich, where software developers can test their mobile & responsive web applications.

 

Besides using the MakerZpace for our own projects, we will also provide workshops where individuals and corporates can experience the possibilities of digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping. More infos about these workshops will follow!

 

What about you?

The MakerZpace tribe currently consists of 11 members with a wide variety of skills and we’re still looking for interested makers to join and contribute to the offerings of our small workshop in the attic. Get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to invite you to our next tribe meeting. You’ll usually find me around the MakerZpace – or just send me an email.

See you soon!

 

3D printing resources

www.thingiverse.com – a huge collection of 3D objects and digital designs

www.tinkercad.com – simple web-based 3D modeling toolkit

www.onshape.com – advanced web-based 3D CAD software

Matthias is a software engineer by profession and a maker by passion. He was one of the first members and volunteers at the FabLab Zurich, a public digital workshop (“makerspace”) close to Hardbrücke with 3D printers, a laser cutter, a CNC mill and many more tools used for digital (and analog) fabrication. At Impact Hub Zürich he takes care of all the aspects ...

Matthias Hüni, MakerZpace curation, Makers Tribe

matthias.hueni@impacthub.ch

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