FabCafe in Tokyo

FabCafe is an interesting combination of café and digital manufacturing services. In the middle of a very nice cafe interior, you have a large lasercutter. So while you have a coffee, you can have your design lasercut on the spot. Pretty cool.

30minutes of lasertime costs 2.000 Japanese Yen. You can have your own design made or buy a design by someone else. You can also have your laptop, tablet, notebook and so on engraved. They even stock some standard lasercutting materials like plywood, acrylic and felt.

Unlike most FabLabs, you don’t get to use the lasercutter yourself. The focus is more on providing a lasercutting service, than teaching users to understand and master the technology. FabCafe is a great introduction and eyeopener to digital fabrication for many people. People often walk in as regular café guests, but leave as lasercutting enthusiasts after a surprise encounter with local digital fabrication.

This is one of the reasons why FabCafes and FabLabs should coexist and benefit from eachother in the same neighbourhood. FabCafe introduces digital fabrication to a large and diverse audience. When a café visitor wishes to dive deeper into the possibilities of digital fabrication, he can visit the FabLab to learn how to master the machines and discover new possibilities.

This coexistence can be a two-way exchange, because FabCafe also provides on demand production of ready made designs. One very nice example is a product range titled “a world in a sheet”. It features a series of delicate folding sculptures cut from a sheet of high grade paper. This kind of charming and customizable products are often developed in FabLabs, and Fabcafes are ideal places to expose and sell these products to a large and varied audience.

The initiators of FabCafe are currently looking for international collaborators who wish to set up a FabCafe in their own country. So it is going to be very interesting to follow the developments of FabCafe in the coming years.

More info here.

“Toshiya Fukuda, Mitsuhiro Suwa and Chiaki Hayashi are in charge of the total production of FabCafe. Space design is by Yuri Naruse and Jun Inokuma, two young up-and-coming architects. Graphic design and product design is by Nana Oba, Yusuke Ono and others. FabCafe also receives the support of Hiroya Tanaka, associate professor at Keio University SFC and founder of FabLab Japan.”

FabCafe is located in Shibuya, central Tokyo

The lasercutter in the middle, like a 21st century fireplace

Products offered for on demand production

Two of the FabCafe founders: Chiaki Hayashi in black, Toshiya Fukuda with glasses in the back.

The laser counter, note the short throw projector

The laser

Custom engraved iPhone cases is smart business

The neighbourhood

3min video of lasercutting pixelglasses at FabCafe:

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