3D Learning Hub
Mathilde Berchon
Mathilde Berchon
Founder at FuturFab

People of 3D Printing: Mathilde Berchon

Who is Mathilde Berchon?

Meet Mathilde Berchon, faithful member of the Maker community, Women in 3D Printing ambassador as well as 3D printing consultant & author. Steeped with the invention and technology democratization values she inherited from the Makers, a community and culture she has been immersed in for the past 10 years, Mathilde explained to us how she is contributing to fostering entrepreneur and company adoption of 3D printing.

Can you tell us about your background and how you got to 3D Printing?

I turned to the 3D Printing world through the Makers community. I originally graduated with a digital communication degree, and back at my graduation, I was very interested in what hackers were doing. I decided to go and live in San-Francisco, a very dynamic city, especially from an innovation standpoint. There I started to attend a hackerspace (a community laboratory where everyone is free to share knowledge and resources), and then the Maker Faire, a major event in the Makers community. A Maker, that’s someone who loves crafting, creating, and understanding how things work. When one talks about makers, one refers to a new generation of digitally savvy tinkerers, with an invention and sharing mindset. This is how I set to upload news on my own website: Makingsociety.com, on which I dive into the Makers world and the effervescence it entails. This website was born of my will of spreading the creations and of explaining the evolution of this community throughout the world, as I traveled it to meet other members. Makingsociety.com quickly evolved into a website dedicated to sharing resources for Makers setting up their own companies.

Also, 3D printing is an important topic within the community, as the arrival of the first open-source 3D printers turned digital fabrication tools accessible to anyone. This is hence thanks to the open-source community aspect of 3D printing that I got into it.

Can you tell us about your firsts experiences in 3D printing?

As I moved back to France, I tried to get in touch with Makers culture-based companies, in order to join them. For example, I got to work for CKAB, one of the first French open-source 3D printer providers, initially with wooden platforms in kits. Later after this experience, I joined TechShop, a collaborative workshop network run by the French retail group Leroy Merlin, which was about providing machinery such as 3D printers to entrepreneurs, for prototyping purposes for instance.

I then moved on to my own consulting activity with the set-up of a company named Futurfab, through which I specialize in digital communication applied to digital manufacturing. I am supporting 3D printing companies as well as those willing to adopt this technology by helping them set up their communication strategy.

You are going to release a book on 3D printing, what has motivated it and what is it going to be about?

I set to write my own 3D printing books based on the mere observation that the topic isn’t simple to address. There is a high demand for understanding the industry, which is evolving fast, yet information tends to be scarce or limited to specific aspects.

These past years we had the tendency to focus on desktop 3D printing, with the prospect that each household would own a 3D printer. My goal was to leave these promises through an extensive and documented analysis, and to show the real facets and applications of this technology, which are interesting but less widely covered.

In 2013 I released my first book named “3D Printing”. This book gave ground to a second edition, which was the first French book for the general public. Since then a lot of things happened in the industry, hence this book I am releasing is completely new. It is entitled “The Great 3D Printing Book” and should be out by September 2020. Inside one can find an extensive overview of Additive Manufacturing at its current state, for all entrepreneurs, designers, managers, or anyone wishing to deepen one’s knowledge. I also introduce the applications, processes, as well as outlooks on the future of 3D printing and how the technology will keep affecting us. 

You also are a Women in 3D Printing ambassador, what is this organisation and how do you contribute to it?

Women in 3D Printing is born thanks to Nora Toure’s initiative, who is a former Sculpteo collaborator. This association is dedicated to highlighting the women working in 3D printing and to fostering meetings and collaboration. Women in 3D Printing events are also opened to men and are organized by cities. 70 chapters exist throughout the world, each with its own ambassador and with its own events.

On my side, I am the Paris ambassador of Women in 3D Printing, so I gather the regional community once every month. The group has existed for 2 years and has been growing well lately. I am also inviting nearby readers to get in touch with me on LinkedIn and to join us in our future gatherings.

What is your point of view on the future of 3D printing?

According to me 3D printing is about to become a major technology field for supporting the energy transition. The climate changes we are going through underline the importance of rethinking the ways we produce and consume. I think 3D printing is a cornerstone of this transformation, which is going to speed up soon. This technology allows us to significantly reduce the resources we need to produce. Additive Manufacturing also allows to plan production on-demand and not in mass anymore. This potential for customization, along with the possibility to produce locally with scarce resources, will help us meet this challenge

We hope this atypical background has given you some inspiration. Feel free to sign up to our Newsletter and discover other fascinating people of 3D Printing.

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