One of the segments of tonight’s CBS News featured MakerBot, the open-source 3D printer. The MakerBot is able to produce three dimensional objects in plastic up to 4″ x 4″ x 6″. 3D printers are nothing new but taking the open-source approach and being provided affordably in home-built kits is what makes MakerBot news-worthy. RepRap is the project that MakerBot is derived from and considers itself a self-replicating machine since it can print its own parts.
The MakerBot complete kit that includes all the parts and tools needed to build a CupCake CNC MakerBot costs $950 but can also be a very educational experience with assembly and a little bit of soldering. Since it is open-source, others may expand upon or improve the design of the MakerBot so that 3D printers become more common in every day life.
MakerBot Industries hosts Thingiverse, a location to download and share 3d designs for the MakerBot. Objects vary from the complicated and impressive Gothic cathedral (pictured below) to the more simple llama-shaped cookie cutter.
You can learn a good overview about MakerBot by viewing the segment that was on CBS News tonight, available on the CBS News site.
The ability to quickly prototype something or generate a piece that exactly fills a need will revolutionize the everyday engineer. Instead of resourcefully using something in a different way, individuals will be able to mock-up 3-dimensional solutions and simply print them out, having their perfect fix in a matter of minutes. For more information, check out the MakerBot wiki.
Another topic CBS News recently covered, photocopiers and their identity theft threat, also made its way here to 404 Tech Support. It seems that their topics are getting trendier and more tech-related.