The Proto Buildbar

william 3D Printer, Travel Leave a Comment

This summer, we had the pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding near Dayton, Ohio. Since many of MobileWill’s family members were also there, we decided to prolong our visit to about a week. One of the things we always like to do before visiting an area is to look up local eateries, coffee shops, museums, and such. A few places stuck out (which is always a plus, especially in the mid-west!), specifically the National Museum of the United States Air Force and a couple of new dining experiences. Yes, we’ve been dreaming about biscuits from Bob Evans. But we must admit, besides those things and just spending time with family, there wasn’t much else to do. That is, until MobileWill’s cousin recommended perhaps one of the coolest places in all of Ohio…

The Proto Buildbar.

If you’re familiar with this place (or you’re lucky enough to call it your second home), then you know that it is a real gem. To say that we were awestruck would be an understatement. It has the typical bells and whistles of a fine coffee shop: couches to lounge as you sip your iced soyvanillamochanowhiptriple latte while you study code or catch up on the latest xkcd, a mid-high table top with stools to really do some work on your laptop, and another corner is filled with a couple of sectionals – perfect spot to socialize with friends about schematizing world dominance. Oh wait, maybe just plan your next, ahem, project.

Above: 1. MobileWill’s brother relaxes while reading from his device. 
2. Portraits of famous makers + thinkers line the walls. Woz should be in place of Jobs, though.

Okay, you’re thinking, “Yeah so? Sounds like Central Perk to me!” Well, yes and but no. It’s actually way more than a 90’s sitcom reference. Located near the Dragons’ baseball stadium in the city of  Dayton, it’s an epic cafe that not only brews a fine cuppa, but has the means to 3D print and solder. The space is nicely laid out, too. The front of the house keeps the couches and lounge areas, while the center has the bar to the left, which faces a shelving unit loaded with about ten to twelve 3D printers, just waiting for your next design. Opposite of that you’ll find eight soldering stations neatly organized, each complete with the necessary tools to tinker away. In front of them is a shelf filled with so many kits to solder up, one could literally spend every day there all summer long and still have things to make! The back of the space houses something of dreams: the world’s largest claw machine (see below). Also, lavatories, ’cause you know, coffee.

 One of the few times we wished we carried cash.
 MobileWill teaches his sister how to build in TinkerCad at the bar.
 Right: An old gym locker cabinet filled with kits. Left: Beautiful, organized soldering stations.

We were like rabid kids in a candy store, each turning corner we would find something else to feast our grabby little hands…lots of 3D printed examples, interesting artwork, and kits galore. We even dumped all of our change in their gumball machines just to get 3D printed items.

 Right: The vintage decor caught my attention. Also, that mural!
Left: Don’t like the tune that’s playing? Press the Song Skip button! I wanted to try it but the music was too good.

Sadly, we did not have the time to take advantage of many of their services but we did get to enjoy some drinks while there. I enjoyed a vanilla latte as MobileWill sipped a cappuccino, both were tasty! Amongst all of the really cool tools and services, the staff at Proto Buildbar was extremely welcoming and courteous. We would have liked to 3D print a prototype to compare with our printer at home, and I have always wanted to get a 3D printed portrait done, another cool service they provide. If we ever make it back to Ohio, we’ll definitely set aside time to hang out there more. That, or we’ll just have to build one of these here in California! Investors are welcome.

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