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IMG_20130308_210718When Nate Hill from the Chattanooga Public Library’s 4th Floor asked if we could cut a giant ‘4’ out on the CNC router vs doing it by hand, it was a no brainer. Jason and I recognized this as another opportunity to take the CNC router to the next level of build and understanding.

We’ve been working on the CNC router at a bit of a snail’s pace so we were glad to get it to the point where it could do something productive. We are quite pleased with the results, a little backlash not withstanding. We’ll keep improving this machine over time. Big thanks to Nate for the challenge, and to Jason for making it happen in every way.

We actually cut a small test about 8 inches high and were going to present that to Nate in a This is Spinal Tap moment, but he caught the pictures through the Internet, so that joke is completely deflated.

Videos of the CNC router in action can be found scattered about the Chatt*lab YouTube Channel.

Recently I read an article titled A Lack of R&D May Kill the 3d Printing Gold Rush by Ashlee Vance on BloombergBusinessWeek (who names these things nowadays?). The article points out that ‘3D printing has no Moore’s law’ and that this will result in less progress, or more shallow, less of a quick buck for investors.

The assumption that faster and more powerful chips and circuits are the only reason personal computing was worth investing in just rings false to me. My company does software for a living and I can tell you that the best programmer can do miraculous things with a meager 386 running Linux in server mode. Mr. Moore need not apply.

This is an antiquated view of computing, isn’t it? Think about it. When I can summon hundreds of thousands of ‘cores’ on Google’s infrastructure to process my problem, do we really think the machine on which we make that request really needs an SSE4 instruction set capability on the chip, or an FPU that is higher than last year’s model? I’m playing with some historical computer trivia here but I think you get my point.

For digitizing the atoms, rather than the bits, as 3D printing does, perhaps we need a new law, or maybe I just don’t know the name of it. This law would describe the behavior of a technology that 1) facilitates creating an object cheaper as it increases in complexity; and 2) permits just in time delivery of personalized products without historical customization costs, and unleashes 3) significant customer satisfaction. Maybe we could call it Bre’s Law? 😉

To me the beauty of the universal logic tool (the personal computer) isn’t Moore’s Law (do we seriously think OS bloat was a good thing?). Instead it is the kids (like me) who got them in their hands at age 12 and put in the thousands of hours learning how to use them to do amazing things. The most amazing thing about the personal computer revolution was that it was something that created a wave of new capability for our species.

I believe 3dp can have a similar impact in human terms. Vance may be lucky enough to be around when this is realized and perhaps write about it then. For now I think there is a point that is missing.

It isn’t about building a holodeck but making the idea of a holodeck real in the minds of millions of 12 year old innovators. They are the ones that will create their own laws that will drive the digital manufacturing revolution to places we have yet to fully imagine.

Chris Anderson at RomeConfluence 2013

This morning Chris Anderson painted the ‘maker vision’ for the revolution in manufacturing that is being fostered by 3d printing technologies. The digital manufacturing revolution was put firmly in context with the industrial and digital revolutions of the past century.

‘We are all designers now, we might as well get good at it.’ is a memorable statement from Chris for us to embrace this latest revolution and get on with mastering the skills needed for this next wave of innovation. Chris brought the attendees to the center of the conversation with calls for this revolution to be echoed right here in the heart of the South. He convinced many attendees that had not heard of, let alone purchased, a home 3D printer to dive in, as evidenced by conversations I had with several attendees.

After the day of presentations, 7hills Makerspace hosted a Maker Bazaar at their opulent space in the heart of Rome. The large space was packed wall to wall with people, projects and lots of energy. I even stepped in to field some 3D printing questions to help handle the interest! A successful event indeed.

Big thanks to Greg Richardson, founder of 7hillsmake.org, and the Rome Chamber of Commerce for producing an outstanding event this year. We look forward to 2014!

3DP (three dimensional printing) has been a catalyst for makers in many parts of the world. It is a popular vehicle to introduce people to the concept of making and Chattanooga is another place this is ringing true.

Whether you remain starry eyed about 3dp or if you are just sick of seeing yet another 3dp at your local Maker Faire, or makerspace, you cannot deny the impact this technology has had upon the level of consciousness in the US with regard to making. Some are saying 3dp in the hands of consumers may be, retrospectively, considered the turning point for manufacturing in the US and perhaps the world.

For some we are late to the party, for others this is all brand new. Nevertheless, it is happening now in Chattanooga. The ‘it’ being a step up in the consciousness of 3dp and of making, in general.

Evidence the Maker Day: Thinking in 3D event happening March 16th, 2013. We have worked alongside the Chattanooga Public Library 4th Floor and the Co.Lab to plan this event.

Currently the agenda planned includes a 3D printer exposition of local makers and, if all goes as planned, a 3D printing competition with prizes. Please join us in what appears to be a fun and informative event.

You can sign up for more information on the home page: www.chamakers.org

Downtown library Systems Administrator Meg Backus watches a RepRap 3D printer built at home by Jason Brown. The printer was assembled by Brown based on plans shared online via a community of 3-D printing enthusiasts.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

The Times Free Press featured an article today discussing 3DP and its potential impact on Chattanooga and the world in general.

More events to come around 3DP and beyond as 2013 appears to be the year for making in Chattanooga.

3-D Printing: Advocates say it could change just about everything

Make it! Day at the Creative Discovery Museum will be a celebration of making for kids during Engineering Week and we and other maker centric groups will be there front and center.

It is no secret the Creative Discovery Museum here in Chattanooga is one of our favorite places. My twins will pick it as their choice of destination 9 out of 10 times when offered. There is so much for them to do and see and it is immersive and interactive. They absolutely love it.

We’ve been talking with the CDM for some time and they are really into the maker movement. This makes total sense. In many ways the very nature of the museum is really in synch with the spirit of learning by doing. With child education by doing at the center of the maker scene and a huge source of personal motivation, the CDM is a welcome partner at the table here in Chattanooga.

If you want to participate please contact us or the CDM directly.
Make It! Day link

Yesterday I found this video that captures the core of why we are so excited about 3D printing and the potential it has to benefit our economy and community in so many ways. If you watch this and cannot find a grain of excitement I suggest you check a pulse.
I agree that art leads the way when it comes to imagining what is possible and what could be. 3DP seems to be similar as many of the traditional manufacturing thought has a difficult time understanding the value from their frame of reference. Artists: please lead on.
The Creators Project: Leaders of the 3D Printing Revolution

Our friends to the South in Rome Georgia are throwing a party for technologists, artists and everyone in between. Chris Anderson is the keynote. We hope to see you there in February. Details are now available at RomeConfluence.com including agenda and registration.
See our previous related post.

Growing up there are two themes in my relationship with my Dad that were consistently present: 007 movies and restoring old cars. For years I really had a suspicion my Dad actually was James Bond.

So you can imagine the shock to my comfort zone as I sat through what appeared to be the utter destruction of an Aston Martin DB5 in the most recent Bond movie Skyfall. Seeing the old DB5 go BOOM was a bit of a jaw dropper as these cars really have no limit to their value. For a quick tour of the DB5 history and some 007 history interjected refer to this article.

Thankfully, and I guess I’m late to this news, the car destroyed was actually a model that was 3D printed on a voxeljet VX4000 for accuracy. I can tell you this was a relief as I was utterly convinced the fireballing of the DB5 in the movie appeared as real as anything I’ve seen. I look for inaccuracies in films constantly particularly when it comes to special effects but CGing that sort of destruction is just not quite possible…yet.
voxeljet Video
The Daily Mail Online Article
Art of VFX Interview

7hills Makerspace (Rome GA) is excited to announce that Chris Anderson will be the keynote for their 8th innovation conference Feb 21-22, 2013. You can also register via email link below to be notified when tickets are available. They expect it to sell-out again this year. As the Editor-in-Chief at Wired Magazine for over a decade, Chris has some unique insights on technology and making.
Some insider info: 7hills will be announcing an offer for a copy of Chris’ latest book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution as part of early registration.
Register for updates for Rome Confluence 2013

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