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!