Will Langford is one of the excellent MakerBot interns and also an excellent digital designer. He came up with a design for glasses and printed them! I'm very proud of both Will and the MakerBot for making such an awesome object. Will's going to chat with an optician and figure out what the glasses need to be able to be fitted with lenses. I can't wait to print out a pair and sport these!
It's coming. Soon you'll be able to scan parts of your body at home and print them out. Earlier today I wrote about 3D medical scans and the 3D printing happening in the UK on the MakerBot blog, but I can't get my mind off of it. It is very cool that you can get your fetus scanned, even if you don't have siamese twins! Once it's scanned you can get it 3D printed. Super bonus points to the first person to put a scanned medical image on Thingiverse. This is just the beginning of the scanning and 3D printing revolution in the medical sector.
Imagine this: Every month, I get a body scan that documents many layers of my biology from bones to nervous system. Then, one day, I break my finger and print out a replacement on my MakerBot made out of PLA, which is a bio-compatible plastic we're in the process of manufacturing. I bring it to the surgeon who has his office, not in a huge medical complex, but in his office around the corner. He replaces the bone as if it's a spare tire and I'm good to go.
This isn't science fiction. This is five minutes into the future.
I'm at NYCResistor right now sitting on the couch next to the lasercutter. It's a magical device and using it, just doesn't get old. It's humming along and cutting out the lasercut parts for MakerBots. The laser is a seriously wonderful and enabling device. Being able to design things and lasercut them is the reason we were able to go through MakerBot prototypes so fast and get the MakerBot designed in the blink of an eye.
Ours is an Epilog 35W Mini and everyone here at NYCResistor, my Brooklyn hacker collective loves it because it means that if you need something physical, you can slap it together really fast. I believe that everyone should have the tools of manufacturing at their fingertips and in fact that's just what our plan is with MakerBots.
Lasers are a different thing than 3D printers. I'm sure there will be lasercutter kits in the near future, but for now, I'm really happy to let the professionals at Universal Laser and Epilog and GCC do the work with big lasers. They are getting cheaper and more accessible every year.
As part of the process of getting MakerBot started we've been interfacing with lots of different manufacturing companies and institutions and I have to say it feels really good to be manufacturing a manufacturing tool in the USA. Everyone we've dealt with in the manufacturing world has been friendly, considerate, and helpful. Everyone we've found in the manufacturing sector has been awesome.
I used to teach art in public schools, but for me teaching art was actually more like a class about making things. With home ec and shop class replaced with mindless testing in our school system, my class was the one spot where students got to touch things and make things and express themselves physically. We used to have a population trained on how to use a lathe, drill press, bandsaw and mill and I'm sure there are lots of fingers lost because of it, but our obsession with safety and the trend of education for sake of test achievement has moved the collective learning process away from the physical. The dominant culture of the USA has shifted away from manufacturing and I think it's about time that it came back. If you've got free time, ideas and a passion for something, there is no better time to get into manufacturing it and selling it. Collaborate with friends in your spare time and make it happen. I predict that a wonderful future awaits for those who set out on a manufacturing adventure in their life with friends.
I hope with MakerBot to bring manufacturing out of the factories and into the homes, apartments, and corner stores of the world so that it will be ordinary to download and manufacture the things you need in everyday life.
As my lasercutter hums and cuts out MakerBot parts, it's singing a machine song of wonderul manufacturing future!
Photo by Steve Garfield
Last night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the man himself ate a cupcake frosted by Goldie the MakerBot with a frostruding attachment. Earlier in the evening, Erykah Badu saw the machine and the cupcakes and plastic parts that it made including a model of the empire state building and said, "Your machine made that? Get The F*** Out!"
It was a great time, but the gremlins were on set. The air conditioning of the studio affected the hotglue holding the drive gear to the motor and it fell off mid frosting! It still frosted the cupcake in what appeared to be a Twisted Sister logo, saving the day!
We're going to attempt to set a better record and shorten the time and improve the frosting distribution soon! Make sure to check out URDB.org to make your own records!