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.
Launching with acclaim on Kickstarter, the 3Doodler literally puts the power of 3D printing in your hands. Consisting of an oversized pen device, it houses an extruder similar to that used in low-end 3D printers. At the press of a button, PLA or ABS filament emerges to be dynamically controlled into whatever shape you desire.
It’s a little more primitive than the printers we are used to seeing, and the outcomes tend to have a squiggly, sketchy and sculptural look about them. But if you are not looking for technical refinement or digital precision, then the 3Doodler is a really fun way to introduce makers to the concept of additive manufacturing.
Click through for a video overview from the Kickstarter campaign as well as a few more images of forms produced using this nifty handheld 3D printer.
Also I just launched my new site called The Deep Channels – it has nothing to do with laser cutting, but you may like it. We have a Facebook page for that too.
Above, Lucy Williams makes these images using a number of materials as well as laser cutting and etching. This image is Summerhouse from her Glass Houses series from 2010. You can see more at McKee Gallery.
After the jump, a Space Invaders chess set, a chair, and Ron Swonson… (more…)
Filament making machine winds its way toward finishing its Kickstarter campaign rewards
We last looked at Filabot, the plastic extrusion filament maker for Makerbot and RepRap style 3D printers when Tyler McNaney was in the middle of his Kickstarter Campaign, that ended up successfully raising $32,330 and was more than 320% funded.
The Filabot is a desktop machine that aims to help reduce the cost of 3D printing for filament based and reduce plastic waste by turning it into “ink” or filament for 3D printers that print by depositing and fusing plastic together.
The Filabot Reclaimer has recently had a lot of development work from McNaney, whose working hard to fulfil his Kickstarter rewards orders by the end of the year. He, recently revealed the design for the production Filabot Reclaimer on his website. The case is made from folded CNC plasma cut steel. (more…)
The Form 1 is notable both for its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and the subsequent lawsuit by 3D Systems against both Formlab and Kickstarter. But lawsuits aside, this is a remarkable machine for the very reasonable price of $3299. The Form 1 ships in May.
Mine Kafon: a low cost, wind powered mine detonator
Of all the maker projects I saw in 2012, Massoud Hassani’s Mine Kafon stands out in my mind as the most valuable contribution to global society. Hassani grew up in Qasaba, Kabul in Afghanistan, he is now an industrial designer living in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. In his studies at university, Hassani recognised that the current means of land mine removal hasn’t had a lot of development in the last 60 years, it is still a labourous, dangerous, slow and expensive operation. Mine Kafon is designed as a low cost solution to the problem of old, but still active, land mines. It is a land mine detonator inspired in part by childhood toys that Hassani and his friends crafted from cheap materials. (more…)
Ever wondered what it’s like to get a shipment from Ponoko? The video shows Garland West, an artist/crafter outside of Charlotte NC, unboxing her recent lasercut order featuring a variety of materials and sheet sizes.
You can see her peeling the protective paper and popping out her designs including bamboo business cards, acrylic jewelry, and a big red octopus.
SparkFun is running a Kickstarter campaign for a national tour promoting electronics education for elementary, middle, and high school students. They will add a stop to their tour for every $3000 raised up to a maximum of 300 stops in all 50 states. The location of their backers will help determine their route, so if you want Sparkfun to help promote electronics in your state, be sure to help support the tour.
What will this mean for low cost 3D printers and crowdsourcing?
Formlabs, maker of the Form 1 3D printer that was a runaway hit on Kickstarter, is being sued for patent infringement by 3D systems. 3D systems is also suing Kickstarter for promoting the project on the grounds that Kickstarter had a financial stake since they take a 5% cut.
The Form 1 raised $2,945,885, a remarkable feat, because it offered low-cost stereolithography printing. Other low-cost printers like the MakerBot and RepRep use a plastic extrusion technique, but the Form 1 uses UV cure resin, allowing for much higher resolution prints.
This brings us to the main issue. 3D Systems has an extensive patent on the use of stereolithography for 3D printing, and they are claiming that Form Labs violated it. Specifically, 3D systems is claiming that Form Labs infringed claim 1 and 34 of U.S. Patent No. 5,597,520.
This will be a case to watch. Regardless of the outcome, it could have a large impact on the future of low cost 3D printing and crowdsourcing.