I just got back from a tour of Marymount‘s new Fab Lab led by Jaymes Dec (@JaymesDec) and Lesa Wang. (Fab is short for Fabrication) Lesa has been teaching art at Marymount for years, and she says her whole curriculum has changed as a result of having the Fab Lab available to her. Marymount is an all-girls PreK-12 independent school on the Upper East Side. Visiting along with me from The School at Columbia University were Greg Benedis-Grab (science), Gina Marcel (K-2 Technology), Dena Rothstein (5th Grade), and David Waterbury (Tech).
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At our April NYCIST meeting, we saw a demo of a Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer by Isaac Dietz (@dietz1) of Makerbot Industries. Makerbot (@Makerbot) is based in Brooklyn, NY. Brandi Kaseta is the assistant to Ellen Baru (Director of Technology at The Cathedral School); After Brandi attended Botacon (themed “Robots For A Better Future”), she knew that the rest of us at NYCIST would be pscyhed to see the printer in action. Thank you, Brandi!
The Think-O-Matic comes as a kit and takes about 16-18 hours to put together. Some soldering is required. I joked that they could create a Thing-O-Matic-O-Matic which would be a printer built just to build other printers. Isaac said that in fact that had already been accomplished. The printer uses ABS plastic, just like legos. You can use their software, Sketchup, or other 3D modeling software to create a design up to 4″x4″x6″. Also, there are close to 10,000 pre-made templates and objects you can download and create at http://Thingiverse.com
- Without purchasing a printer, you can still design objects and have them fabricated elsewhere using http://Ponoko.com or http://www.emachineshop.com
- Article from Ars Technica: “The next Napster? Copyright questions as 3D printing comes of age” by Peter Hanna
- Alternatives to Makerbot’s Thing-O-Matic are large and expensive and awesome: 3D printers from Z Coporation
- Anthony Atala’s TED talk about printing a human kidney
- http://www.egg-bot.com for printing on eggs and spherical surfaces!
Video of the printer in action is below: