Ok, this is a scattered collection of stuff kindof loosely involved with… DIY.
There’s a point to all this somewhere, but I don’t know what it is… so I guess it’s just a snapshot of various things I’ve tangled with recently.
I used to spend about $20 on earphones a month because they’re made out of the flimsiest shit in the world… then I tried the $50 because I thought they might be stronger… they weren’t but sounded so much better than my monthly earphone bill is now $50.
Why? Because the manufacturers operate as a cartel, not competing on robustness… inbuilt obsolescence. Now, we all know how these things should be designed – they should be modular so if one bit breaks, you only replace one bit, not the whole thing. But they don’t do it… because they’re about leaching maximum $ while providing minimum value, because that’s what corporations do.
Enter Kickstarter… and Ironbuds. Stupid “splash” photo, great, necessary and cartel-busting idea. Investing in this costs less than buying a new set of earbuds. Bargain.
I’m starting to use kickstarter technology as a bit of a shopping-outlet… because I really like the idea of product design optimised for people actually using the product… rather than optimised for extracting money.
And it’s got a Sarrus Linkage for the up/down bit… which is cool. Looks a bit like the terrible stuff they sell in $2 shops, but the vitamin parts are slowly dwindling. Incremental (decremental) innovation… but I’m a quantum kind of guy. As I keep saying, I’m still looking for real-time-sensory calibration… and something that looks a bit like this…
Little desk-top 6-axis robot, that is controlled using grown-up robot software. Needs to be a bit more robust and non-wobbly than this version, but I think this is what CNC/repraps should look like.
4) There are a couple of DIY CNC devices on Kickstarter actually…
MY DIY CNC : Little machine that costs about $600… holds a dremel, does CNC with it. Can also hold a laser… there’s a video with it using a little 1kw one… etching only. I don’t need etching, I need something that will cut steel.
Cool though… getting there.
Another variant, also on kickstarter, also massively successful in terms of funding.
5) I’ve started playing with online shops and the one I wound up with is this:
Has the easiest to use CAD software I’ve ever seen – which isn’t saying much, because they are ALL incredibly hard to use. I’ve started playing with Autodesk 123D – which is a free-download thing… which looks reasonably comprehensive (and by that I mean 1.5GB)… but like all CAD software, is really hard and unintuitive to use. You’ll spend hours just trying to select faces or objects. You want to copy and paste an object? It’ll take an hour, and in the end you’ll give up. We know how graphics software is supposed to work… it’s like photoshop or gimp or fireworks… CAD software is just wrong.
Anyway, eMachineShop is the easiest I’ve seen…. and it checks the integrity for you… you can choose the materials, and the finish… the process, and it will give you a quote directly from the download. This is the future. Make a design, choose your materials… get a quote and off it goes. What Ponoko does I guess… but a lot more comprehensive in terms of different manufacturing techniques.
And if you want to make a thumb-tack, it’ll cost you over a hundred dollars a go.
Fuck me this shit is expensive…
I tried that TinkerCad – online, in-a-browser software the other day…
… which is CAD software that has been so cut-down that getting anything done becomes a baffling intellectual exercise. After about 4 hours, I managed to make this
10 cm wide – costs about $50 on Shapeways… I guess because it’s solid… I thought that was extortionate. $50 for a piece of plastic with some holes drilled in it? I need it to be solid. I found this other 3d-print-on-demand place in Aus… and they were charging $200.
I don’t know… maybe I’m new here, but everything here seems to cost a LOT more than it should.
I think the 3D DIY design->execution thing has quite a long way to go. This stuff is still too expensive to experiment with… well, for me anyway. I guess people are doing it – but it’s not like lego where people can really play without it costing $50-$100 every time they want to try something.
I’m not sure about “The Maker Movement” actually… I have a feeling that it isn’t really to do with hardware at all… but is actually about blogging… and the fact that people need something to write about, and “people actually doing something” is more interesting that people who don’t… and the idea that “I could to that too” is inherently interesting to people.
I kindof think that that is what it might be about, rather than something that’s addressing any particular need. It’s still about “meta”. Information. Memetics.