From printing to milling - the Othermill.

Regular readers of my blog (when I post... I'll write about what's been going on soon, promise) know that I keep a sensor net focused on the field of microfacture - personal manufacturing and rapid prototyping. Most of the time I natter on about 3D printing, but depositing layers of material to make something isn't the end-all-be-all of small scale manufacture. The other end of the spectrum - milling, or carving feedstock - is just as useful, and for many applications it's a preferable technique for making things. The thing about automills is that they're not yet as common as 3D printers. People …

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Gada prize for personal manufacturing announced.

If you've been following my blog for a while you've no doubt picked up on my interest in 3D printing and the open source fabber called the RepRap. It seems that I'm not the only person who's been keeping a sharp eye on this particular technology. The Gada Prize (formerly the Kartik M. Gada Humanitarian Innovation Prize in Personal Manufacturing) has been announced to advance the state of the art in 3D printing and personal manufacture by putting up $20kus to the person or team whose project meets certain criteria by 31 December 2012. The prize appears to be aimed …

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Diamond Star Release Party - 3 July 2010.

Last week Catherine Asaro and Donald Wolcott played a live show at Stacy's to celebrate the paperback release of Diamond Star. Hasufin, Mika, Lyssa, and I had hoped to show up at Stacy's about an hour ahead of time to get the sound system set up and checked out but Dr. Asaro and Donald had beaten us by about twenty minutes; plus, we were running about ten minutes late. We spent the next half hour or so sitting around chatting amiably, settling in, and waiting for more people to arrive. They took their places behind microphone and keyboard around 1915 …

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Gada personal manufacturing prize announced!

The Foresight Institute, a think tank concentrating on the possibilities and potential hazards of emerging and potentially disruptive technologies has announced the Kartik M. Gada Personal Manufacturing Prize totaling $100kus. Part of an effort to spur the development of rapid fabrication and manufacturing technologies at the grassroots level, the prize aims to help bootstrap the quality of life of people living in the twenty most poor economies on the planet. The idea is to lower the cost of entry to the field of manufacturing commodity personal goods by making use of recyclable materials and cheap to construct additive fabbers. The …

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Rapid prototyping a violin.

Rapid prototyping and fabrication are one of those technologies that you don’t appreciate (or even know are in use) until you walk into someplace like the Boston Fab Lab at MIT and run into them face-first. Things we buy in the store just sort of pop into being without the consumer knowing anything about how they were made, be it by injecting liquid plastic into a mold or using a robot to mill a block of metal into an intricate shape. Anyway, a student named Mark used a ShopBot CNC machine (the best way to describe one is a …

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Fabbing eyeglasses and Morse Code fail in the Steel City.

Something that’s fascinated me for a while (if you’ve been been keeping an eye on my blog for any length of time) is rapid prototyping, or the use of automated systems to build modular components by laying down successive layers of plastic, ceramic, or other materials. While the technology has not advanced sufficiently to make it truly useful to end users (i.e., your grandmother won’t be using one to make a new coffee mug anytime soon) it’s a subject of heavy development right now and the state of the art is advancing every day. For …

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The RepRap build-a-thon in review.

The weekend of the RepRap build-a-thon at HacDC started off simply: Lyssa and I went to dinner at Konami. We haven't been out for sushi for a number of months, due to my getting sick there in 2007. However, the food is still good and we enjoyed ourselves. I was unusually popular that night; my cellphone kept ringing every few minutes for various and sundry reasons. After dinner I dropped Lyssa off at home, loaded my gear into the trunk of my car, and headed to Hasufin's to pick him up because we were off to HacDC to help set …

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RepRap Build-A-Thon at HacDC, 24-25 January 2009.

Please distribute widely!

On 24 and 25 January 2008, HacDC, a hacker space located in Washington, DC will be holding a RepRap build-a-thon in conjunction with the Baltimore RepRap User's Group. The build-a-thon starts at 10:00am EST5EDT on Saturday and will run until 3:00pm EST5EDT Sunday.

The RepRap is an open source rapid prototyper which is unusual in two ways: first, it is affordable for the home hobbyist to both construct and operate (typically, it costs $500us to build a RepRap from scrach, compared to the $49,000+ that industrial rapid prototypers cost). Second, the RepRap is capable …

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