Three months ago, Diego Porqueras, founder of Bukobot 3D printers, decided to open a brick-and-mortar 3D printing shop and hackerspace in Pasadena, Calif., called Deezmaker. We blogged about his grand opening, and the Bukobot 8 machine was reviewed in our Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing, receiving recognition as the Most Innovative. We caught up with Diego recently to get an update on how the shop and hackerspace are going.
1. Your shop and hackerspace have been open for 3 months now. How has Deezmaker been received by the community? Since we’ve opened, it’s just been amazing the response we’ve been getting from locals, and the diversity of people who have shown huge interest in 3D printing. I haven’t advertised much at all, but it seems like we get around 5 to 20 people a day coming in either wanting to buy a Bukobot or just wanting to see and learn more about 3D printing. There seems to be all sorts of people visiting us, from real estate agents to NASA JPL engineers and everything in between. So far we’ve gotten many orders from Pasadena Art Center, Caltech students, the local school district, folks working in Hollywood films, local engineers, and hobbyist. One of the main selling points of my Bukobot 3D printer is having a real place that people can just come to and get any issue taken care of, or even just get a quick run through of how to get started with 3D printing.
2. What do you currently carry in your shop? Currently, we can take orders for our Bukobot 3D printer kits (although there’s still a bit of a lead time to get one), filament supplies, 3D printer parts, 3D printing services (using our Bukobots and a partner with a high-quality Objet), access to a foosball table, and of course the hackerspace area.
3. Have folks been buying 3D printers as presents for the holidays? Yes, absolutely. Most, I believe, have been from the Kickstarter campaign, but I have been receiving some pre-orders from local people who’ve been purchasing for a loved one’s Christmas presents. Unfortunately, it’s been so overwhelming trying to ship so many Bukobots that some folks might get them a little after the holidays (which they’re still OK with).
4. Do you have folks who come in wondering what 3D printing is or are most folks who come in already in the know? I would say that most people who walk into my store seem to know a little bit about 3D printing one way or another through the internet and videos, but have never seen a machine up close. To me, it’s just an awesome feeling to witness their reaction when they see a Bukobot 3D printing a part right in front of them for the first time. They’re usually extremely amazed and fascinated by this cool technology.
I even had this one lady come in who was so flabbergasted she just stared at the machines in awe for like 15 minutes until she started to ask questions. And you should see when kids see my display of Bukobots — it’s truly awesome — their eyes get super wide with wonder, and after asking a few questions they start coming up with tons of things they would like to print out. We also have other users walk in who already have a 3D printer and have been looking for someone local to talk to in person about their machine or just to get general tips.
5. Tell us about the hackerspace portion of Deezmaker. What tools do you have and what types of events have you hosted? Our hackerspace/makerspace is a great place to work on projects of all sorts. We have your typical tools for making things, like chop saws, hand tools, Dremels, soldering irons, drill presses, etc., in addition to some major equipment like 3D printers (of course), a small CNC router, lathe, and a laser cutter (soon to come). Some of the other perks of being a member are access to some of my video game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, and some retro ones), which are connected to our big projector, a foosball table, and discounts on classes and events.
As far as events go, similar to Crash Space‘s “MakerBot Monthly” (3rd Sunday of every month), we’re going to begin our own “3D Printing Monthly” meetups on the first Sunday of every month, starting on January 6, 2013. It’s free and open to anyone, and if folks have any 3D printer to show off or need help with, this would be the meetup to come to.
We’re also planning some more formal instructional classes like “3D Printing 101,” “Getting Started with OpenSCAD 3D Modeling,” “Intro to Arduino,” in addition to a bunch of others. There are also many interested groups that are going to begin meeting here since we have a nice area for many people. And did I mention a cool projector with an awesome sound system? Being a movie buff, I’m also probably going to host some movie nights on the big screen too.
6. What do you think is the biggest advantage of having a brick and mortar shop? All of the above. With 3D printing, the virtual world is now being pull out into the real world and the only way to experience this is to touch and feel them. With this technology being so new, most people are a bit hesitant to try it out for the first time, but having a shop that offers advice and support usually eliminates many fears. I also believe the human aspect of technology is making a comeback. People have been stuck in a virtual online world for so long, I think they want to get back to the physical world again and 3D printing empowers this.
In the state 3D printing is now, the best way to experience it is to see it in person. 3D-printed objects are really only useful when you get to hold them in your hands, and you can now do this at my store. The other great thing that is happening is the maker movement. Having 3D printers and a hackerspace as a place to work on projects can really help those who may live in a limited space but want to create awesome things.
I know the feeling of living in a small apartment with roommates or a house with no garage and the frustration of not being able to work on an idea or project that is extremely important to realize. The worse part of being a maker is not making. When I started the Bukobot project, I was fortunate to have space to develop my ideas, but I’ve always imagined how many people out there may not have a space to create. So one of my goals became to start a hackerspace in hopes to give makers, inventors, and students a place to grow ideas and create cool stuff.
7. How long have you been involved in 3D printing and how have you seen the landscape changing? I hate to admit this, but I only discovered 3D printing in July 2011, just over a year ago, when I saw a quick news segment about DIY 3D printing. I can hardly believe it myself, but 3D printing has drawn me in unlike anything I’ve ever been involved with. I was addicted from the very beginning and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since.
One of the major reasons for my addiction to this new emerging technology is that I saw a limitless tool of creation and the power to make almost anything I wanted, which was something I was longing for. Another reason is that 3D printing basically has encompassed pretty much everything I love to do, and I’ve been able to combine all my skills in machining, electronics, programming, design, and inventing into a cool technology. So 3D printing pretty much became the job that is so fun, it’s not really a job anymore.