We interviewed a few coworking spaces to see how they are doing this:
With the loft accolade as the first 3D coworking space in the world, there are high expectations for Mak3D. Located near to the Silicon Roundabout in East London, Mak3D is well placed to absorb creative and technological innovation from neighbouring startups. Creative coworking fuel is also available in the form of curry with Mak3D’s office space on Brick Lane, home to an unending throng of curry houses.
Mak3D founder Nick Allen proudly describes the demands for his printing services at his printing bureau 3D Print UK: “We have had request from anyone and everyone, ranging from seven-year-old hobbyists to Bugatti and Burberry. I am getting more work than I can handle, which is why it is preferable to have freelancers in the office, who I can give jobs to.” To avoid falling behind on orders, Allen uniquely offers free desk space to freelance 3D designers in exchange for 10 hours of their time a month to work on his projects.
“It’s easier to give someone work who sit next to me than outsource it elsewhere,” he adds. Since opening the coworking space, Allen instantly noticed the benefit of sharing a working space. “If we are using a similar programme and someone doesn’t know how to do something, somebody else would always be ready to help. Each person has a different skill set and can contribute accordingly.”
Brikstarter, a new company emerging from Mak3D, is also very much the product of the coworking environment. “I only knew one guy from the original Brikstarter team before,” says Allen. “We all met each other here [Mak3D] and quickly decided to set up a business. Brikstarter creates prototypes for Kickstarter campaigns, and makes its money by taking a cut of the cash that is eventually raised for the project.
The eighteenth century witnessed Liverpool’s transformation into one of England’s industrial hubs. A few centuries later DoES, a coworking, event and maker space, is sparking people’s interest in more minute manufacturing. They offer permanent desks and hotdesking; host varied meetings such as BarCamp Liverpool, a sewing club and Friends of the Earth; and provide workshop space.
DoES is awash with the latest digital gadgetry including two 3D printers, an HPC laser cutter, various electronics and microcontroller kits and various analogue fabrication tools such as a vacuum former and bandsaw. Although the space is mostly a magnet for more technical companies or workers, DoES co-founder Hakim Cassimally insists that “on a given day, you could be talking to an artist, an architect, an engineer, someone building a kite for aerial photography, or an entrepreneur building a business selling quality chocolate with a digital-fabrication twist.”
“Coworking suits those of us who like to get out of the house and meet people, but still be able to work in a quiet and respectful environment,” he continues. “We also have great coffee!”
A highlight of DoES’ community engagement is the bimonthly Maker Night, giving anyone interested free access to their services. Although mentors are available to lend a helping hand, most are content working away on a project alone or with other interested attendees. Past projects have ranged from the educational such as an iPhone holder designed by a seventeen-year-old student for his college project to the zany, most notably a semi-porous structure designed to grow a pigs-bladder football.
Low cost labour and a skilled workforce are transforming Kraków into Poland’s technological centre. IBM, Motorola and Google have opened research labs there in recent years based on grounds of geography, economics and Kraków’s culture. But in addition to multinational interest in Poland, the startup scene is also flourishing. Based at Kompany, a coworking space in Kraków, Materialination is “a community promoting the idea of 3D printing.”
Community Manager at Materialination Michał Frączek is confident about the growing opportunities for 3D printing in Kraków. “The 3D printing scene is growing quickly!” he says. “In a few years, I believe Poland and Kraków in particular can be a capital of 3D printing in Central Eastern Europe. In Kraków there is Materialination and the Hackerspace group, which are strongly connected to 3D printing. A lot of individuals either have their own 3D printers or want to buy or build one.”
Echoing the Maker Movement’s communitarian spirit, Materialination’s aim is the spread the word about 3D printing. “For now we are promoting 3D printing as an cool idea and way of thinking, says Frączek. “We'd like to move the idea of 3D printing outside some closed group of people and invite people to print and play with 3D printing. We'd like to share our 3D printers with everybody who would like to see, use, experiment and take advantage of 3D printing. We are also ready to help and even accelerate some business ideas around 3D Printing.”
In their pursuit of a printing democracy, Materialination have even summed up their philosophy in 10 universal values:
1. We are here to be useful, learn and share from each other.
2. We support creativity and experimentation and are tolerant of mistakes. If you have a cool idea of something you/we could do here, feel free to suggest it in our forums.
3. We welcome beginners. We all were beginners once.
4. There are no bad questions.
5. We are transparent.
6. We are internationalist. Everyone is welcome here provided they share our values. If you contribute as well as learn you are even more welcome.
7. Everyone can contribute something.
8. We support Creative Commons and openness and we will link to and work with everyone and anyone who wants work with us. For those who are here to make money – welcome – we hope we can help you make a fortune – read our FAQs about making profits from our community and know how. The more valuable and useful this community is the more possibilities there will be to find ways to make money from the value beginning created.
9. We are ambitious and have high standards. We want to be one of the best places in the 3D eco-system to learn share and create. We will intervene if necessary to keep our community culture positive.
10. “We” and “us” is more powerful and fun than “I” and “me”. We are a community.
But among Materialination’s idealistic ten-commandment-style musings, Frączek readily recognises the practical benefits of being in a coworking space: “You don't have to worry about stuff like internet, cleaning, postet ceteraand you can just focus on your work” - a perfect blend of starry-eyed ambition and simply getting the job done.