Still haven’t been working on anything at the Fabrication Laboratory…
I know I suck.
But wait! I did other stuff! What if I told you that there is a magical place, with Unicorns puking rainbows and playing Laser Tag… Or something along those lines.
Well, semi-seriously now, what I have been trying to get into the last few weeks is a place called “ImpactHub”.
I did not, or am not doing this because I am shit-bored, I am doing it because I think it could be incredibly helpful/the second component of my misdeeds to support the “Maker Movement”.
I don’t know if it is necessary, or even wanted, but I want to bring the 2 communities, the Maker-community and the ImpactHub-community closer together.
So what is an “ImpactHub”?
Alive it is, indeed!
But how was it brought to life? What is going on behind the scenes? Is it all magic happening there? I hate to disillusion you, its not literally magic.
I should have studied the last few days. Why I tell you that is because everyone knows that productive stuff can come out of that, except for the stuff that should actually be done.
So, I browsed Kickstarter (of course) and if anyone did that in the last few days/weeks, you will have noticed that there is a ton of 3D printers raising some money there.
One of them specifically caught my attention though. I told you about the different types of printers here (not so sure if all of it is till or ever was accurate) some time ago. This one uses Stereolithography to harden a resin. Here comes the cool part: It is only 100$! And it is called the Peachy Printer, how cute!
Have you heard of Shapeways yet?
No? Well, you should most definitely change that and I will gladly help you out!
When I first heard of 3D printing I was amazed. Remember my first post? I wanted to print myself a coffe-cup and all kinds of other awesome consumer goods, and for whatever reason, I wasn’t even thinking about how hard it would be to actually print food-safe ceramics. Think about it for a second, it takes around 2000° C to manufacture ceramics!
Now that you know how impossible it seems, have some magic!
Shapeways is a service where you can upload your design and have it printed, now that in itself is nothing amazing, but the fact that you can have all of that done in an amazing array of materials is what makes it, not just special, but mind blowing.
You can check out the full list of 3D printable materials here.
The materials include stainless steel, ceramics, gold plated brass, silver, full color sandstone! You might find some other amazing ones there, either because I left some out or there are new possibilities when you are reading this.
The founders could have just ended it here, but no!
Today’s visit to the Fab Lab started by bumping into the group of new guys and girls taking the tour through the Lab for the first time, just as I did a couple weeks ago. I am still amazed by how many people come there and sign on every Wednesday, and how diverse they are.
Shortly after I sat down there, a guy I’ve seen a couple of times at the Fab Lab came up to my roommate and asked him what tool the workshop was on today.
Well, my roommate speaks German, but not really that kind (quite the strong local dialect), so I jumped in and told him.
He is somewhere between 40 and 50 years old and just had this “eager-to-learn” grin on his face, to be honest, he looks like an odd fellow but he is incredibly nice and motivated!
Cheesy line coming up! Watch it! “Never judge a book by its cover.” Yeah. I just did that. I’ll have to take a shower now.
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.
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:
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.