Last night, Dominic Muren, Willow Brughe and I presented a night of “Fab Lab” to the Dorkbot Seattle crowd. I saw later on twitter that some 120+ people showed up, which is not only uncommon for dorkbot, but it shows that whole physical computing and home fabrication thing is generating lots of interest.
Dominic’s talk was awesome, and it covered pretty much every way to digitally fabricate things. He’s annotating the whole thing with links and should be uploading it to Humblefacture shortly, so if you didn’t make it to the talk, you should dig through the slides. Probably the best list of fabbing technologies and software for modeling I’ve seen in a while. Makes me want to rethink my current toolchains.
Willow Brugh, director of Jigsaw Renaissance, talked about their space in SODO, admittedly hard to find and hard to type, it sounds like a fun place to hang out. They’re a non-profit, under the umbrella of Milwaukee-based Bucketworks, and they have some access to Artillery’s tools. This is the second time we’ve met. Last was at KUOW. Hopefully I can get down to Jigsaw one of these days and check it out. Sounds interesting. Too bad it’s not within my ridiculously short live/work radius.
Milo the makerbot hummed away for a while on a print, but ultimately it’s extruder failed. The makerbot portion of my presentation didn’t get to have a live maple syrup smelling robot giving birth to a Mendel extruder. Suck.
We adorned him with flashy LEDs and magnets, but the demo gods were not amused. More robot maintenance in my future. Unsurprising.
I had a presentation, but I tried to keep it informal, I talked about the history of .\C:_ (most people ask), how it came together so quickly (i have the most awesome friends ever), and about some of the things that happen in our strange basement on Broadway. Dorkbot threatened to put the video up on their website soon, and I’ve shared my slides on Google Docs. I’m sure neither will make sense without the context of being there.
The star of the night for me was Professor Mark Ganter, who wasn’t on the schedule, but who has voided the warranty on his departments 5 zcorp printers by printing ceramic and glass. Apparently you can print different materials than $1000 per oz zcorp plastics, all of which are dirt cheap. The glass dust he uses is a byproduct of glass recycling, and is next to free. Printing in wood is easy if you have micron scale wood dust, which is something laser cutting produces. The binders are as simple as cheap vodka and maltodextrin, both easily available at local stores. He has dropped the costs on printing to nothing.
This is huge stuff. Commercial 3D printing is a racket, and the costs ($600 for a gallon of comercial binder) of something so potentially world-changing is ridiculous.
Ganter is putting all of this up on Open3DP, another amazing move for a professor at a University that lives on patents
What happens if you dont have a zCorp printer?
There is a guy in Brazil who has made a Homemade 3D Powder Printer out of an old Lexmark printer. Once we figure out the logistics of where to put something like this, and how we can make it relatively safe (glass dust is probably off the table), I think we’ve got a new shop project. And with that, more maintenance. Awesome.