Unfortunately, I have been a bit off rails lately.
But don’t you worry, I m back and trying my luck on using a laser cutter! (not that anyone missed me by any stretch of the Imagination =P)
So I have been working on an Event and had some private trouble, but well, shit happens, and sometimes said shit needs/deserves a lot of attention ;).
Now, in continuation from where I stopped a week or so ago (I could check the date but I am too lazy). I went back to the Happylab the next day with my nice little minion file prepared to see some laser cutting action!
Exited as I was, I stormed in, and, hold your breath!
Of course, the machine was in use at that moment. That was to be expected though, because it’s the time where architecture students have to finish their Projects, so the laser cutter is in heavy use.
So I went up to the guy there, and smacked him in the face!
Everything went well, except me forgetting that today is a holiday in Austria, well well, silly me.
Let me start a bit earlier.
This morning I started making my first design to be laser-cut.
So the guys at the workshop yesterday gave some examples of different materials that are perfectly suited for Laser-cutting. One of them is called “Laserply”. It is basically a plasticy-ish plate that has a thin layer in a color like blue/red/yellow etc. at the top, and the core of it has a different color (they have black and white as far as I know).
You could check out the different variations in the store if you wanted to. ;)
It seems quite basic, but by burning away the top layer (engraving), you can make the core show, which allows you to do 2-colored Laser-cuts.
So as soon as I saw the yellow one with the black core (which looks awesome with text engraved), I thought of designing one of the minions from the movie “despicable me”, and so I did.
(took a couple hours ^^)
This file should be printable now, without going into detail: The black lines and areas are going to be engraved, and the incredibly thin red outline you can (hopefully) see there will be cut.
With a ton of enthusiasm, I went to the “Fab Lab” to have it cut. Well, normally you can buy the materials right in the Lab itself. Unfortunately, today was a holiday in Austria, so the guys running the shop were not there. =(
Cool thing though is that the only 2 people in the Lab at that time immediately offered to lend me some of their materials. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make any use of the stuff he offered, so I left.
So yesterday was my first visit to a “Fab Lab”.
“How was it?” – you zero readers of this blog ask. (I don’t have a problem talking to myself, doing it all the time anyways =) )
First thing you’ll notice is that it is not as shiny as the pictures on the website suggest. But thats actually a good thing, it means that people are actually working there, not just staring at the machines. There is architects Laser Cutting their projects for University, there is something “baking” in the 3D-Printer for the next 6 hours, and someone is working on the CNC-Machine, I could not figure out what he was working on, but he made something!
So how do you start? Do they just let you go berzerk on these expensive machines and hurt yourself?
Quite the rhetorical question eh?
First of all, a bunch of surprisingly quiet and shy people gathered up right after the entrance, made up from all kinds of people.
I saw two 16-year-olds, a couple art and engineering students, and some “home-improvers” or DIY-ers that were 50 years plus old.
Next, we got a tour of the “Fab Lab”, which ended with me signing on to it of course.
Next thing right after signing on was the first of a series of what they call “Workshops”.
No, I didn’t misspell *cough cough*!
Due to most of this equipment being quite expensive and basically being out of date after one or two years, it is quite unlikely that any of you is going to get him or herself a 3D Printer right now.
Don’t worry though, there is other ways of getting access to cool tech like that, and to even more cool stuff!
What I am referring to calls itself a “Fab Lab”, these hold an array of flexible computer controlled fabrication machines. They are aimed at making the ability to fabricate almost anything accessible to anybody who wants to.
Said “Fab Labs” usually have one day a week where anyone can come and toy around with the equipment, even if they are not signed on to their ridiculously low-priced subscription plans. (With the one I know, it’s 3€ a month for access during the opening hours, and 19€ extra if you want a key! 24/7 access!)
Well, today will be the first day I step into the “Happylab”, let’s see how it works out.
If you are as excited about this as I was when I first heard this, you can check out if there is one near you on the MIT’s website, here is the link:
Well, before I started thinking of actually making some stuff, I started informing myself on what the available technologies are and what they are capable of right now.
To my knowledge, there is 3 different types of 3D printers right now (or 3 major ones at least).
Well, let’s start making a list here, incredibly entertaining, isn’t it?
- The first, and most accessible is what they call “Fused Deposition Modelling”.
What they do there is quite similar to the desktop printer you probably have sitting right next to you right now. It has a printhead that melts a string of ABS plastic and puts it on a plate through a jet, the plastic hardens quickly, and when it’s done with a layer, it just moves up and prints the next “slice” on top of the first and so on.
My description obviously is close to perfect! Still, I’d like to give you Makerbot’s website here so you can check it out for yourself, its astonishingly simple. (Makerbot is not the cheapest but it’s the one I’ve heard the most of up to now)
Also, this kind of printer starts at aroung 800-1000 € (Yup, Europe, as I said!).http://makerbot.com/
- The second type I know of is called “Stereolitography”.
This one has lasers.
So who am I?
Well, I won’t tell you my real name but I’ll start by saying that I am an “economics and social sciences” student from the lovely city of Vienna and I love it (both).
Yeah… it is disappointing, I am not the real slim shady, sorry.
I’ve always been interested in technology (which is a nice way of saying I was quite the gamer) and I also tried programming a couple times, so I am a an intermediate retard on Adobe Illustrator, some programming (never really got further than programming tic tac toe), and some web design too.
Due to my interest in technology and social sciences, I’ve been reading quite some books lately, among them was a book called “Makers: The new industrial revolution”.
It is all about what the state of the art is for 3D printing and how this combined with new forms of financing, namely crowdfunding, could cause a big change in how we think of production and hardware goods.
So that made me want to try this thing out for myself and maybe be part of said “industrial revolution”.
So that’s what I’ll do here. Now. I guess.
It will be a “How to fail at making and have fun with it”. =)
If you found this blog here, you are probably either dead bored or absolutely lost in the dephts of the internet, but I am still glad you are here.
So, what is “here” exactly you ask?
Well, for starters, its a WordPress blog as you might have noticed already.
Why I feel obliged to share something with the world is obvious though. Its about my latest neat Nike-Sneakers and the rumours surrounding the xbox-one of course!!
I guess no one fell for that, right?
What I actually want to do with this is document my “journey” of dilettantism and incompetence to become something they call a “Maker” now.
I want to print myself a Halo-Coffe-Cup over night and have the first sip of it the next morning!
I am doing this to make more people try 3D-printing because I think that this could be a huge step forward, it enables everyone, with every crazy idea, to produce hardware without noteworthy investments.
But I am getting ahead of myself, first, I’d like to introduce myself.