Opening Soon: Laser Cutter Cafe in Chinatown


Laser Cutter Cafe 4
o
Ever had your tea with a side of laser cutting? You’ll soon be able to at Vancouver’s newest (red) hotspot, The Laser Cutter Cafe, popping up June 26 on Columbia Street in Chinatown.
o
Inspired by similar ideas in Tokyo and San Francisco, owner Derek Gaw wanted to bring the accessibility of public-space laser cutting to Vancouver. With his Full Spectrum Laser Cutter, Derek can make everything from business cards printed on wood veneer to etched glass, puzzles, sculpture and signage. He can take photos, text or graphics and etch them onto plywood or glass, and cut through wood, plastic or cardboard. Derek demonstrated The Laser Cutter Cart at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year, and had a slew of visitors come by to see just how easy it is to do their own laser cuts.

o

Intrigued, I caught up with Derek to find out more about this unique project that’s sure to bring a smile to our city.

o

Laser Cutter Cafe 2
o
Can you elaborate on what the laser cutter cafe is all about?
o
The Laser Cutter Cafe is a cafe (we serve tea and stuff) that has laser cutters for anybody to use. Come make something and have some tea while you’re at it. In addition to our namesake tool, we’ll also have other things to play with, like 3D printers, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter, a textiles lab, and an electronics lab.
o
fabcafe-masakiishitani
o
Tea and lasers! Delicious combo. Where did the idea come from?
o
The Laser Cutter Cafe was inspired by equal parts FabCafe in Tokyo (above) and TechShop in San Francisco. When I moved back to Vancouver, I missed having ready access to laser cutters, so I decided to get some myself to share with everybody.
o
Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the cafe? Do you provide supplies?
o
When you walk in, you’ll probably see someone using a laser cutter right in front of you. You’ll smell a hint of of campfire from the plywood they’re cutting to make a coaster for their tea cup. And then you’ll notice a whole slew of laser cut products for sale and display. First time visitors can take a quick safety and usage tutorial, and be laser cutting their own stuff in half an hour. We’ll have an inventory of ready-to-laser materials, or you can bring in your own, assuming it’s safe and approved by us.
o
Laser Cutter Cafe 3
o
o
Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?
o
Vancouver’s maker movement is growing strongly in part because it has a ways to catch up to more established maker cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Our west coast siblings are great role models, and we get to learn from their failures and successes.
o
Why’s it important to share skills and knowledge? ¬†
o
It’s much easier than making all the mistakes for yourself (although sometime, that approach is quite¬†educational).
o
_____
o
So check them out on or after June 26! Until then, you can start plotting your newest laser-cut project. See you at the Cafe!
o
o
Laser Cutter Cafe 1
o
o
Photos courtesy of Derek Gaw, except Fab Cafe photo, courtesy of www.spoon-tamago.com