Sublime (Brad) at Tantillus.org printed a fully functional hobby lathe using PLA plastic capable of cutting metal parts. Each of the parts necessary to build the lathe was small enough that they could be produced on an affordable 3D printer within the budget of most robot hobbyists.
The lathe design was the result of contributions from many people, though Sublime added his own touches/improvements. The surprising thing for me was that it is definitely possible to bootstrap from a low-cost 3D printer to create other tools that most robot hobbyists want for their home workshops.
I'll be posting more about Sublime's work and the creation of the Tantillus 3D printer in subsequent videos.
Just discovered that there's a regular Makerbot User Group meeting in New York City and the meetings are shared live via Ustream.
Archived videos of meetings are available online, though it looks like they just started adding content. Could be a treasure trove of information and inspiration as more meetings are added in the future.
I won't embed the stream here because it tends to auto play in some browsers, but you can access it via the via link below.
There's an old saying that "Politics makes strange bedfellows." Apparently that's true for 3D printer startups as well. According to an article in the online edition of Monday's Wall Street Journal, Makerbot Industries will soon be sharing building space and rubbing elbows with the likes of Morgan Stanley and the Goldman Sachs Group.
’Makerbot and Wall Street – Strange Bedfellows?’ continues
iheartengineering found that the key to producing large parts without warping was to maintain a stable ambient thermal environment.
This was especially true because their offices are located in a converted brick warehouse building with concrete floors, lots of drafts, and inconsistent heating during the winter.
To deal with the unstable office temperatures, and to make sure that any objectionable vapors given off by the MakerBot were exhausted outside the building, they constructed a simple housing and venting system.
As a part of the venting design they needed a part to mate between the housing and off the shelf ducting. So they did what any self-respecting engineering firm would do - they quickly designed the part they needed, using open source CAD software of course, and printed it out on the MakerBot.
The special housing allows them to run the 3D printer continuously for hours, and sometimes for days, on end. The stable temperatures result in consistent prints as well as allowing them to produce parts as large as the MakerBot workspace will allow.
Last week I visited the iheartengineering headquarters in Brooklyn and was surprised to find that they have managed to build a rapidly expanding business around the print-on-demand model and unique product designs. Besides their abundant creativity, the heart of their business is a first generation MakerBot 3D printer that manufactures parts as orders come in the door (or over the internet).
It's not unusual for them to keep the printer running for hours, and sometimes days, at a time when orders peak. They've developed some special techniques for producing large parts with some unique fill patterns that I will post more about later.
Most important, the work, and the business model, that iheartengineering is pioneering convinced me that all the buzz about 3D printing generating a rebirth of manufacturing and creativity in the U.S. is much more than just hype. It is a practical and achievable goal, one that may soon be a reality for a growing number of start-ups.
’Affordable 3d Printers Hit The Market…? (Video)’ continues
OK- all the buzz and furor about small 3D printing technology, like the Makerbot, is great, and it will be wonderful when all of us have the ability to create any necessary, or unnecessary, object at home, at will. But, what's at the other end of the scale - bigger, better, and even more ecological? How about a 3D printer robot that recycles waste of all types and uses it to print big stuff, like furniture? Wouldn't that be cool?