Via Ponoko, who have totally changed my life. I’m now changing careers – opening a fab-lab in Wellington NZ… and if they’ll have us, we can be one of their suppliers – we have the 3D Milling kit that the US lot have, but isn’t available to Ponoko customers from the NZ branch.
It was Ponoko who started me off with the Golden Mean Calipers (which is where 1/2 my income comes from now) (because who does “one thing” any more?)… and now it’s become a bit of a personal mission of mine to do for other people what Ponoko has done for me… which is to create micro-businesses, so people can be independent.
Something I’m noticing myself now that I’m getting away (hah) from programming and more into physical stuff… the prototype is generally corrugated cardboard, wood, hacked-acrylic… what the likes of Ponoko do is reduce the gulf between “hacked proof-of-concept” to “work of art” to…
…, an evening in front of a graphics program.
What Ponoko do is reduce massively reduce the energy that is required for the Second Machine Generation.
What I’d really love for them to be able to do (do you hear this Ponoko folk?) is a same-day turnaround.
I can remember when mail-order had a standard 28 day delivery time, then Amazon was invented and destroyed that model… in the UK I’ve ordered a book from Amazon and had it in my mailbox the next morning. Ebay took up this approach, and now we kindof expect more or less instant delivery. This would be really useful for Ponoko to be able to do, because there’s an experiment-cycle. Try->fail, try->fail, try->fail, try->succeed. This can take months.
So um… the core-value that I’m getting from Ponoko is the massive attenuation of the Concept->Art process. If they want to improve their service (to Me me me) then a big thing they could do is figure a way to radically lower the turnaround time.
But I don’t know their business, or what’s involved, or if this is a reasonable thing to suggest etc… If I were to buy my own laser-cutter though, that’s the reason I’d do it. To reduce the Concept->Art process. That’s what this stuff is for. De-Sublimation.
Anyway, back to the CNC…
These are starting to show up around the place quite a bit… eg: buildyourcnc.com, but nothing quite as cheap as the one above.
Which makes the maths a whole lot scarier, and I have a feeling that there may be fairly serious issues with precision… but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.
It might be interesting to try a variation where the motors (which when on the corners will need to be synched, which could be tricky) aren’t at the corners, but are actually in the machine itself, which just uses the corners as a reference point. You wouldn’t need as many of them then.
A bit like the CNC router robot from last year… which impressed everyone then kindof disappeared… which was a pity. I was expecting to see a whole wave of them after that.