When banks start getting in on a new technology or trend, you can be certain it’s a fairly good bet, and one that they see yielding a pile of green down the line in one way, shape, or form—and in this case, those will all most likely be 3D printed. The motives on the part of Barclays Bank, too, are pretty clear: they want to see their customers thrive. That’s eventual money in the bank for everyone, not to mention the value offered to those who are able to use the new MakerSpaces being offered by Barclays, headquartered in the UK.
While some might be surprised that they would take an interest in the maker community, if you delve a bit deeper, it makes perfect sense as those inhabiting maker spaces and establishing the skillsets found within are not only taking on better jobs in manufacturing and many other sectors, but they are also making prototypes, establishing startups, and often cutting out the middleman to become their own mini-factories. Those within the maker community are the artists, designers, and engineers who literally are shaping the future, involved in a new industry and economy that is experiencing accelerated growth. That all sounds like good stuff that would go over awfully well at a banking board meeting to me—not to mention the numbers expected for the 3D printing industry in the next few years, which fall well into the billions.
Barclays’ MakerSpaces offer not only 3D printers but other tools of the trade which are often used as well like laser cutters. The spaces are making good use of both vacant branches and office spaces, and they are not just set aside for customers. Local business owners are invited to use the services for fabricating designs, employing rapid prototyping, and more.
“So whether you own a business, are a student or simply like to create things, you can use our tools to test your ideas,” states Barclays on their website.
The banks also invite the spaces to be used for community events, corporate days, school trips and training sessions as well. Pilot spaces are currently open at Cambridge and Bournemouth locations. While the first two already open are known as ‘Eagle Labs,’ they will also be opening ‘Incubators’ soon.
The Eagle Labs seem to be more of a full-service makerspace, operating under what they foresee as a full-fledged education program in offering a more contemporary skillset to community members—mainly those who own businesses already. The Incubators are meant for startups to begin actually starting up with all the appropriate activities. They envision groups of entrepreneurs working together, networking, brainstorming and even enjoying mentoring from experts at Barclays. Meeting rooms are available for all of these activities befitting those in high growth mode.
While there is not a date set yet for the opening of the first Incubator MakerSpace, a new Eable Lab will open in Brighton this week. Plans are for a total of 20 to be open, and other listed locations so far are in Birmingham and Huddersfield.
These MakerSpaces offer not only a great way for many to continue in learning valuable skillsets, but it gives them accessibility to great tools that are all too often out of financial reach. Having a group of enthusiastic 3D printing designers in close proximity should most certainly take the stereotypical ‘boring’ out of banking too! Would you like to see something like this in your area? Discuss in the Barclays 3D Printing MakerSpaces forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: engadget]