Usually when we talk about hacking electronic circuits and wires we’re referencing the people that bend circuits, but the folks at DIWire have a totally different approach. They’re are actually in the business of bending wires. Their new 3-D wire printer bends wires into curves that can be assembled to construct almost anything.DIWire 3D Wire Bender
Practical uses for the printer include artistic design, small assemblies, organizers, and anything else you might want to put together with bended wire. It’s hard to tell exactly what uses it will be put to until it’s available to users and they get some time with it. It’s one of those interesting products that you know once people start to use that they will come up with things that are really surprising.
At this point the product is still a prototype. You can go to their website and give them your email address and other contact information so they can let you know soon as the product’s available. And, they expect to have a Kickstarter project active within the next month or so.
The "maker movement" is much more than just hacking, experimenting, or playing around with hobbies. A big part of it, at least for me and many of my friends, is the ability to pass on skills and know-how to others, including passing them down from generation to generation.
One of Michael Overstreet's humanoid robots playing soccer at World Maker Faire 2013 in New York City. Michael puts in a tremendous amount of time and effort each year attending Maker Faires in NYC, Detroit, San Mateo, and Kansas City, along with RoboGames, because he gets real inspiration from introducing kids and adults to robotics.
"If Superglue and PlayDough had a baby" is the tag line for Sugru, a surprisingly useful self curing rubber concoction that turns out to be extremely useful.
Want to quickly fabricate a simple stand? Need to patch some rough edges or a break? Don't like the sharp corners on your smartphone or tablet? Sugru is the answer, and it's a whole lot of fun to boot.
The FormLabs Form 1 high resolution desktop printer has some limitations/drawbacks for the type of work that I typically do, but it is so incredibly awesome that I want one anyway.
The part resolution, surface finish, and ability to produce parts that would be difficult if not impossible with other additive 3D printers, is really striking. Take a close look at the print developing in the Form 1 photo above. How difficult would it be for you to produce the same print with a Makerbot Replicator 2?
In addition to the print quality and performance, I love the aesthetic design of the printer itself. If Johnny Ive designed 3D printers instead of iPhones, this is the type of printer he would create.
At the same time, there are some downsides/limitations. The Form 1 won't be available until January 2014 at the earliest, and not in all US states or countries overseas. Japan is one of the countries that's obviously missing from the list at this point, though I did hear from the FormLabs staff at Maker Faire that plans for Japan sales and support are in the works.
The initial cost is higher than other printers, which I can rationalize given the higher performance and print quality. What's harder to justify, for my unique needs, is the higher projected running cost given that the printer resin has to be purchased from FormLabs and it isn't readily available locally. That implies that users will have to stock resin or risk running out just when they need to produce parts for projects or clients. For overseas users, like me, where it can take a week or more even for expedited FedEx delivery (not to mention costing an arm and a leg), this is a serious concern.
There are also some limitations that might be troublesome, depending on your particular use case. For example, one of the FormLabs booth staff explained that the Form 1 resin parts take several days to cure to the point that they are solid enough to be used in functional parts that might be subjected to stress. This wouldn't be a problem for artistic or concept designers, but would definitely pose significant problems for the type of parts I design and use regularly.
All things considered, the Form 1 is in a class by itself and definitely worth serious consideration if it's characteristics match your typical use case.
We meet up with MakerBot Industries at this year's World Maker Faire to finally see the MakerBot Digitizer 3D scanner in person and learn about how it works. Plus the answer to a nagging question: What happens when you scan an object, 3D print it, and repeat the process over and over again?