Ponoko + SparkFun = RepRap components

Making a 3D printer using laser cut and electronic components.

Hiding in the depths of the Waitakere Ranges, New Zealander Vik Olliver is one of the core members of the RepRap project and is very familiar with both Ponoko and SparkFun.  The latter would have been in Vik’s bookmarks for half a decade after an online search for serial port information.  Vik’s collaboration with Ponoko started in 2007 when he got talking to Ponoko’s Dave Ten Have at Thursday Night Curry, in Wellington.  Vik is best known to us for making RepRap parts, but a quick search revealed that he has a great deal many talents.

How did you make stuff before Ponoko?

I Squished them out of plastics like Polymoprph and Shapelock. Before that I’d do carpentry, weld, bend and bolt aluminium. Occasionally I’d take a piece of metal, heat it up and whack it into the right shape. I still do sometimes – great for the frustration levels!

What have you made/are you making with Ponoko+Sparkfun?  Is it for work or play? Wife says it’s play, I call it research. Generally its for things like unobtainable gears, RepRap print beds, that kind of thing.

How would you describe your creative process? Holistic and opportunistic – I try to examine the whole problem, think of new ways to approach obvious and perfectly sensible standard solutions. Then I get frustrated, and chuck something together that actually works from what’s to hand.

What material/s do you use/ have you used/are interested in using  and why? I want to play with everything! The problem is in persuading myself *not* to try printing out animal shapes on digestive biscuits, for example. I think the next big step I can hope for is the use of more than one material when fabricating a finished object.

Do you have any tips for other users? Yes: When you design your item, that’s the time to make allowances for the material being of variable thickness. Think what’s going to happen if someone prints it in the nearest metric equivalent, or decides to use veneered MDF etc.

http://reprap.org, http://vik-olliver.blogspot.com/, http://www.thingiverse.com/vikhttp://www.ponoko.com/showroom/Technicalchemy

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