Birthplace of Cultural and Creative Products, a Visit to Paper Border Crafts

Make it yourself: the world of makers

Sometimes when you walk past a cultural and creative store, you can’t help but notice all the exquisite items on display, but you wonder how you could make something similar yourself.

“But how do I turn my design into a real product?” Anyone who wants to be a maker has asked themselves this question, and the answer is always: a professional maker studio. You have to go and see how products are made. You can learn a lot. So let’s go to the Paper Border Crafts to look for some answers!

The studio is packed with rapt would-be makers.

When you arrive at the studio, you’ll be greeted by a range of different products. Some are exquisite model buildings which, if you look closely, you’ll see are actually made of paper. In fact, most of the products in this studio are made of paper.

Can you see? The model building here is actually made of paper.

Digital manufacturing does what traditional manufacturing can’t

For a small studio, it has quite a lot of digital manufacturing tools: a CNC machine, 3D printer, and laser cutting machine. These machines have drastically changed the way products are manufactured.

In the past, the only way to manufacture a product, was to make a new mold, which meant going into mass production if you didn’t want to lose money. This made many people reluctant to experiment with new ideas, so many interesting products were never made reality.

However, the new digital manufacturing tools make small-scale productions possible. You can even make adjustments and get feedback on your prototype in real time, which removes a lot of unnecessary restrictions. The only thing stopping you, is your imagination.

With digital manufacturing tools, you can let your imagination go wild.

Inside the studio are many beautiful wooden products, all printed on a UV direct-to-garment printer! First, you use white ink to lay a base coat, then you use colored inks to make different colors. The UV direct-to-garment printer can print almost anything, not just wood: keychains, charms, power banks, leather, textiles—you name it.

The heavy cutting machine gets the job done

We heard about a very powerful machine in the studio. What is it?

It’s a laser cutting machine that does “heavy cutting.” It may not be incredibly accurate, but it cuts through boards up to 1 cm thick, when most laser cutting machines can only cut thicknesses of a few millimeters.

Unfortunately, this machine cannot be used for meticulous paper craft, because it uses glass tubes which are less accurate and produce bigger spots. The alternative—a laser cutting machine that uses metal tubes—is more stable and accurate and capable of performing higher-precision tasks.

One of the many professional machines at Paper Border Crafts.

You can make your own, too

In order to make yourself a custom phone case, first you have to design it, then manufacture it with a laser cutting machine, paint it with the UV direct-to-garment printer, and then package it to make it look like a brand new product.

After looking round the studio and seeing how these items are made, do you feel like making something yourself? Then visit the studio in person and make it happen!

After looking round the studio, do you feel like making something yourself? Image by Solarbotics @flickr

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