Located at Prenzlauer Allee 242, Fab Lab Berlin is only about 10 minutes away from Alexanderplatz. For those who don’t know it yet: the Alexanderplatz is an homage to Alexander 1st who came to Berlin in 1805. Also since the monumental Berlin TV-Tower is placed in its centre it became a point of reference not only in Berlin-Mitte, but also in parts of the city that are more far away.
The Fab Lab is run by the company ‘Makea Industries GmbH’ and is opened for their member during the opening hours. The use of the machines is either charged per minute (so for example the 3D-printer costs 0.10 Euros/min.) or annually (for example 120 Euros for the 3D-printing membership). So for example the annual subspription is only 120 Euros for flatrate 3D printing (and the members only need to bring their private filament).
The size of the area is about 600 m² which can be divided by three by sound isolation curtains. The Fab Lab includes different workshops such as the ‘Heavy Metal Lab’ (for steel, aluminium,…), the ‘Wood Shop’ (for wood), the ‘Composite Lab’ (for carbon etc.), the ‘Laser Lab’ (for lasercutting), the ‘Textile Lab’ (for sewing, knitting, weaving etc.).
In addition to that it should be mentioned that everybody is welcome in the Fab Lab. If you enter the Lab for the first time, you can immediately notice the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and melted plastics (but therefore I assume you need a very sensitive nose).
The atmosphere could be described as very international- staff member speak German, English, French, Polish, Hebrew, Syrian, Spanish, Turkish, …
Fab Lab Berlin is located righ next door to the office of Ottobock and a co-working space (the so called ‘R&D Center’). This area is offered to startups, designers, artists, developpers,… and also Bionico was invited to stay there for three months. The combination of those three areas are called the ‘Open Innovation Space’. This could be described as a network which aimes to bring together makers, startups and industrial partners.
As a member of the co-Working space, you are allowed to come 24 hours a day (250 up to 500 Euros a month). Besides those features it should be mentioned that the diversity of the people (nationality, age etc.) and also their projects and competences give this place a remarkable quality. Also I was pretty surprised about the fact that you can always work in a calm atmosphere. The Open Innovation Space is also a museum which includes the following features:
- projects that were developped in the Fab Lab,
- the history of the Bötzow Brewery (which used to be the most important brewery in Berlin),
- some products from the Ottobock portfolio
All of this is the consequence of a meeting between the CEO of Ottobock et the Fab Lab Berlin crew members and a discussion about “open spaces” and “mixing knowledges” who drove Makea and Ottobock to wtart to work together. Ottobock rents the place to Fab Lab and they also work together on innovative projects to bring a maker touch to this 90 years old company, worldwild leader in prosthetics.
It is a win-win between a company looking for new ideas and a Fab Lab with an innovative and open business model.
In July 2015, in Berlin with the MIT -35 innovators Germany, Bionica has the chance to visit the Fab Lab Berlin who actually opened a few weeks earlier and he shows the Open Bionics hand. Fab Lab and Ottobock are interested, and Bionico super motivated to come to work in Berlin. We met again in october to find a way to work together. The idea is to stay 3 months, as a full member (desk, free use of the machines and technician fromm both Fab Lab and Ottobock to help out)