I usually avoid blogging when I am frustrated or angry, but I can’t help it this time. I designed an enclosure in Sketchup and thought that getting it fabbed would be trivial. Many online services offer it for “reasonable” prices. But the shipping costs and times make it less practical and “affordable”.
I uploaded my design to both ponoko and shapeways and couldn’t get a price lower than 35 $, plus shipping, plus waiting for 10 to 21 days. Forget it!
Then I was left the “local” option. I thought that since 3D printing is democratized as we read every day all over the web, it shouldn’t be a problem to go to my local hackerspace or a friend and get it made while having a nice chat. I am a member of c-base where there is a good old reprap, there is also the Raumfahrtagentur another hackerspace that has a 3D printer and I know another two people who operate makerbots. Piece of cake!
It turns out the one in the first hackerspace doesn’t work, the second can not process my file, and the two other 3D printers operators are very busy.
Maybe it’s that time when the lasercutter was accessible to everyone in Open City Design, but It’s very disappointing to me that 3D printing is not that accessible in the so called “Tech Capital” Berlin. With makerbots costing less than 2000 EUR now and many other printers in the sub 1000 EUR you’d expect to find one in every cafe.
I should be able to walk in the betahaus cafe, or the so famous Sankt Oberholz, or in any other hip cafe where couches cost thousands, upload a file, order a coffee, then drink my coffee while watching the object being printed, and leave with it in my pocket.
Berlin is maybe very good for making software, but when it comes to hardware, it’s still far behind.