Making Tools

After the intoxicating joy of making, what impressed me most at Maker Faire were the low-cost tools available nowadays. When I was studying manufacturing the equipment of fabrication was costly, was mostly human-controlled, was large and heavy and messy. CNC was around but few machines were controlled by computer. It was a playground for seasoned craftsmen with deep pockets or skilled workers in manufacturing.

Not any more!

Printers translate 3D models made in free software into three dimensional objects.
Laser cutters engrave and cut images with extreme precision onto materials.
CNC mills guided by software grind away material revealing creations.
Laser scanners can turn real world objects into software models.

Economy versions of all the above and mor can be had cheaply.

One shopping list I created came to less than $5,000.

I’m tempted … but first I have much to learn.

Making Extravoganza!

Maker Faire turned me on.

What a joy it was to walk among people delighting in creating. Printers making 3D copies of software models. Home brew robots competing. T-shirts with embedded LED arrays producing patterns, signs, and animations. Exotic themed hats made of thousands of carefully placed toothpicks. LEGO creations extraordinaire. I was agog and slightly walking on air as I spent two days in the San Mateo Fairgrounds touring an amazing variety of exhibits. Check it out.

http://makerfaire.com/bayarea/2011/

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