Look what the White House just announced for Tuesday afternoon (ET):
Have you ever considered what you might create with a state-of-the-art digital design studio? Have you ever thought about planning and printing a new pair of sneakers, instead of just buying some? Have you ever dreamt about what you would make if you had all the tools of industrial design at your fingertips?
Well, those dreams may be closer than you think.
A new generation of American pioneers is democratizing the tools of the industrial revolution and spreading them to students around the country. But these tools aren’t the rusty machines you might imagine – they’re 3-D printers, laser cutters, and water jets, and they give you the ability to make almost anything. Not only that, they may be coming soon to a school near you.
Announcing the first ever White House Science Fair, the President called for an all hands on deck approach to grow a generation of Americans who are, “the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things.” And at the 2012 White House Science Fair, the President met student Joey Hudy and launched his marshmallow cannon, noting that Joey’s motto was, “Don’t be bored, make something.” Responding to that call, citizens, communities, and organizations are coming together to give students the tools to design with their minds and make with their hands.
Join us and leading tinkerers, educators, and innovators on Tuesday, November 12th, at 2:00 pm EST for a “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout, called “Don’t Be Bored, Make Something”.
The Hangout will be moderated by Kumar Garg, Assistant Director for Learning and Innovation, and Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges, and will feature a panel of these leading experts:
- Bre Pettis, CEO, MakerBot, with the Replicator 2 3-D printer
- Mariah Noelle Villarreal, student and Maker Corps Mentor, Maker Education Initiative
- Mark Hatch, CEO, TechShop
- Lisa Brahms, Director of Learning and Research, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
- Rob Gorham, Deputy Director, America Makes
Hear from the people building the next generation of shop class by tuning into "We the Geeks: Don’t be Bored, Make Something" live on WhiteHouse.gov/WeTheGeeks and the White House Google+ page on Tuesday, November 12, at 2:00 pm EDT.
Got comments or questions? Ask them using the hashtag #WeTheGeeks on Twitter and on Google+ and we'll answer some of them during the live Hangout.
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?