This is the story of Otherfab. I doubt you’ve heard of us, but I think our story is a good one.
Four months ago, we were working on the future of this country: digital design and computer-controlled manufacturing tools for the STEM education of our children.
So many people in government had worked very hard to carve out the funding for a truly radical program to put shop class back into high schools with a focus on integrating modern technology. It was the first time I had worked so closely with a government organization, and I was blown away by how much they cared about our mission. Maybe that says more about me then them, but either way, it made me happy.
We were about to begin deploying our program into 1000 high schools when the sequester hit. For a small company like us, a sequester-induced delay and complete financial uncertainty of several months was crippling. We had very little buffer and a young team that absolutely could not be furloughed.
Indiegogo campaign spreads the word about DIY digital manufacturing
What exactly does it take to be crowned the king of CNC? Amongst those jostling for Regal top honors is the prolific and wildly enthusiastic Jon Cantin, a fellow you may recall as the guy behind WoodMarvels, now known as CNCKing.com.
Jon has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help make Volume 4 of his CNC book series available to a wider audience. It draws on many years of experience making children’s toys using the distributed manufacturing models offered by companies such as Ponoko.
This book contains all the knowledge I wish I had access to all those years back… if you want to learn how to design using a CNC table router or laser cutter, you must add this book to your library!
Beyond selling a few books, a broader goal of the campaign is to encourage more kids and educators to embrace the potential that CNC machines have to change peoples’ lives. Jon imagines a day when children ask Santa for a CNC machine so that they can build their own toys.
Learn more about the campaign and pledge your support at Indiegogo.
Play Checkers, Chess, and Go on this digitally fabricated furniture
This digitally fabricated furniture is the work of design-build studio Because We Can. They designed and made the game tables and stools in-house on a CNC router for the lounge area of Autodesk University.
Each table has various patterns and saying carved into the surface. It looks like the Checkers pieces are made with CNC as well. In the last picture below you can see that the legs of a table and stool spell “AU” for “Autodesk University.” (more…)
Artist wires his brain up to CNC machine… and thinks of nothing
Digital manufacturing is often lauded as the ultimate solution for turning thoughts into reality. But what happens when you want a physical representation of complete lack of thought?
To answer this challenging proposition, London-based artist Gustav Metzger had his brain analysed by an EEG machine while he diligently cleared his mind of all thoughts. The resulting data was converted to a volumetric format and fed into a manufacturing robot, which then carved the piece titled Null Object out of a single block of stone.
Visitors to London’s Work Gallery can see the sculpture of Metzger’s empty thoughts through until February 2013.
One Line Fonts offers a good selection of single line fonts. This means that the fonts are defined by a single line without a defined thickness as opposed to conventional fonts that use two lines to define the shape and thickness of letters. This is important for applications like laser engraving and CNC milling, because using a single line font will give you much cleaner text that requires less cutting time (which means lower cost).
Fonts are $7.50 for a Basic package with the most common glyphs for English or $15.00 for a Full package with over 400 glyphs covering most Roman based languages.
Alec Rivers, lan E. Moyer, and Frédo Durand of MIT have created a sort of GPS for handheld power tools. A small screen shows the user where to cut, and motors help guide the tool in the correct direction. The user just has to guide the tool in approximately the right direction.
The result is something related to CNC. The advantages are lower cost and increased portability, but it lacks the full automation of a CNC router. Watch the video below for a look at how the system works. (more…)
Here’s a great opportunity for the thinkers out there. As a part of the GE Garages initiative in collaboration with New York’s Chelsea-based retailer STORY, the call is out for entries to the Making Things Competition.
The goal is to conceive of a spatially stunning window installation that makes use of rapid prototyping technology. This will then become a part of a new GE Garages pop-up store in New York City, where open workshops are to be held in an advanced lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and everyday makers.
It’s a quick-thinking event, with entries due by September 20 and the winner will be announced four short days after.
“The fabrication will start immediately thereafter and continue up until the installation deadline, October 4. Not only will the winner receive a highly-publicized commission, but will get $20,000 to make it happen.”
This is a cool project: Instructables user fred27 reverse-engineered the encoding pattern for an old Fisher Price toy record player and developed a method for 3D printing or CNC cutting new records. He’s also written software that allows you to convert your own tunes to play on the forty-year-old toy. This is an excellent demonstration of parametric modeling using the free OpenSCAD software. Brilliant!
We previously mentioned Michael Hansmeyer’s spectacular CNC milled columns. To recap, the columns were designed using a subdivision process in Processing before being CNC milled from 2700 layers of 1mm ABS plastic. He recently gave a TED talk about these columns and, more broadly, his vision for designing with computer algorithms. Using this method allows us to create forms so complex that they cannot be drawn or even imagined.
MIT’s Ilan Moyer and Nadya Peek have made the PopFab, a multipurpose CNC machine in a suitcase. The computer controlled platform rests in the bottom of the case, and the arm for the toolhead pops up. Perhaps the best part is that the system is compatible with a wide range of toolhead for various functions including 3D printing, CNC milling, vinyl cutting, and plotting (drawing).
We recently blogged about a related project, the FoldaRap. The FoldaRap looks to be slightly more compact, but it is focused exclusively on 3D printing.