Just received another email from Amazon Japan updating the status of my order for Bre Pettis's new book, "Getting Started with MakerBot". It's been delayed once again. The new projected delivery is January 6, 2013 though I'm sure it'll be delayed again.
Same thing happened several times already with Joseph Prusa's book on RepRep. The Amazon note simply reads the following,
"Dear customer: We have learned that there is been a delay with some of the items in your order indicated above. When your order is shipped you will receive an email message confirming the date, contents, and method of shipment."
That's all, nothing more to be done, just keep waiting...
I'm sure that a big part of the problem is the fact that the whole RepRap and 3-D printer spaces are growing dynamically. Things are changing rapidly. It's not just our knowledge the growing, it's also all the available configurations. New competitors are entering the market. And even existing competitors are making dynamic changes.
Bre may have started his book back in the Cupcake or more likely in the Thing-o-matic days. But, by the time the book is written, edited, layed out, and is ready for distribution, the company is gone through one or two generations of products. The old products that were new when the book started are already obsolete, and the newer products don't have their legs under them yet. So it's hard to write anything of significant size, like a commercial book that should sell for somewhere in the order of 20 or $30, and have it not be full of obsolete or questionable information.
I suppose that Prusa is also in the same position. His personal and professional status is changed dramatically month by month. For example, he recently decided to turned his hobby or avocation into a full-time occupation. This puts a totally different twist on what he would write and how he would position things. Another good example is the Thingiverse, especially the controversy over Makerbot going commercial. Prusa was one of the major agitators demonstrating actively on the Internet against Makerbot taking what everyone assumed to be an open source sharing platform and change the rules of the game, modifying its terms of service. So, how do you position that in a book?
Of course, the heart of the problem is the fact that they're trying to do this using the traditional publishing methodology and market. Had they gone completely digital and published their books in a PDF or e-book format, using the Internet, they could have had several generations of the book out, critiqued, gotten feedback, and improved them several times already. Instead we have customers that have placed orders months ago, perhaps as much as nine months ago, frustrated and still waiting for the book that they thought that they would get as a introduction or entry-level home helping them get into 3-D printing.
I'm not sure what Andrew Mazzotta does for a living, but I do know that he has a boatload of 3D printers and is racking up numerous hours testing and evaluating them, which is all to the good.
This week he compares the Makerbot Replicator to the Lulzbot AO-100, and throws in a few comments about the Uprint SE Plus for good measure. It's not a rigorous, detailed evaluation, but is quite valuable since it's based on his actual experience as a user of all three printers.
Michael Curry and his 3D printed robot Minions at Makerbot Headquarters in Brooklyn, NYC last week.
I had a wonderful afternoon visiting Makerbot Industries in Brooklyn.
This was my fifth visit over the past two and a half years. Every time the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity seems to have been cranked up by at least another order of magnitude.
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.