Thursday, January 11, 2007

Model it on Your Desktop

My first post after a long time here, and first post for 2007. Hope this year sees more and more technological innovations like last year.
Coming back to the topic on hand, No, I am not talking of your computer desktop, I am referring to the good old desk top. How many times did you abandon a great idea because you could not do the model at your convenience and your pace? How many times did you abandon that pet project of yours because of the the prohibitive costs? If you fall into any of this or more on similar lines, what I am writing here should alleviate your spirits.

A few folks at Cornell have addressed just this problem. They have come up with a desktop fabricator which will set you back by about 2500$. Yes, you heard it right. No more heart breaks over the price. Coming to the capabilities it sounds pretty good to me. It can build 3-D models of from plastic like materials. One can use it for building 3-D prototypes.

"Malone and Lipson the people behind Fab@Home hope that this will grow into a community of enthusiasts who share designs for 3D objects and even modify the machines for themselves. This will prompt the emergence of widespread personal fabrication, Lipson hopes.", says a report on New Scientist. I got hold of this article from DocintheMachine. Check out a video on how this Fab@Home constructs a silicone bulb.

What fascinates me is if the machine is half as good as what they say, it might churn a revolution in the way things are manufactured. I might as well setup a small scale unit in my house making a few hundred models for the markets around me or I might even scale it up for making a few thousand models. I am excited to have a look at it and see it's capabilities. It's the time for back to home workshops aka the pre-industrial era.

"History repeats it self", How true.