Europe’s first 3D printer cafe opens

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

3D printer cafe
The 3D printers can create almost anything you can imagine.

3D printers, which can “print” just about any physical object imaginable, are being used in industries ranging from the medical field to toys for kids. Now, they’re making their way into… cafes? Yep! Barcelona just opened FabCafe, Europe’s first 3D printer coffee shop that lets customers print their own designs while getting a caffeine fix.

The idea for FabCafe started all the way back in 2002 with a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He figured that 3D printing was too big of a future industry to only belong in the secret labs of mega companies. So, he wrote a book describing how the lives of regular people like you and me could benefit from owning a machine that prints basically anything.

A group of Japanese scientists agreed with his thoughts, and they opened a “FabLab” in Tokyo for the public to have easy access to 3D printing. Once they added in caffeine and a Starbucks-like atmosphere, the idea morphed into a “FabCafe”.

To get in on the 3D printing fun, a FabCafe visitor can create a funky design on either a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Then, they can send it to a 3D printer, where the machines use a combination of lasers and material layering to bring concepts to life! Some of the most popular inventions customers make are jewelry and quirky toys, but if their creative juices aren’t kicking in, they can just choose from a large number of premade templates online. There are also “FabBoy” and “FabGirl” employees ready to lend assistance, and you can bet they’ll have some Fab-ulous ideas!

Although this is the first FabCafe in Europe, it’s actually one of many littered across 50 different countries in 250 locations. I can’t wait until my local neighborhood gets one!

Images courtesy of FabCafe on Google+.