DIY Movement: Bringing Inventions to Life, Yourself
Imagine the motion of your inkjet printer scanning and printing color by color on a piece of paper. Now imagine this image created layer by layer, Three-Dimensionally, right before your eyes. The world of 3D printing, typically only known to prototype engineers with massive machines, is quickly becoming mainstream. You can even have your own personal 3D printing factory at home as the DIY movement continues to grow and evolve.
I first caught sight of MakerBot’s 3D printer, The Replicator, at CES 2012 (CNET Best of Show for Emerging Tech) and saw it again last month at SXSW Interactive. The price point for personal 3D printers is the leading breakthrough in this emerging market. Now that they are being built with the everyday consumer in mind, simplicity and affordability will undoubtedly continue to be the focus. It’s a new solution for an age-old inventor dilemma, how to showcase what’s in your head without going into full production. Additive Manufacturing- taking a digital model and literally spraying layers of plastic (similar to the plastic used for Legos) one layer at a time- is the idea behind these personal 3D printers. In addition to plastic, some 3D printers use metal, ceramic and even chocolate for fabrication materials.
Have an idea… the next big invention? It’s easier to get it to market than you might think. DIY shops, such as the TechShop and GE Garages, are popping up around the country. In addition to featuring do-it-yourself prototyping machines, tools and equipment, they offer classes, workshops and training events, even chocolate molding parties at some locations.
With a young inventor in the house (age 10 and she already has her first patent pending product), I’ve been hearing about the Maker Faire as well. It’s coming up May 19 & 20 in San Francisco. If you’ve been before or plan to attend, let us know what to expect with a comment below.
Also, if you’re in Austin, be sure to come out to the 3rd Annual ACE Innovation event, taking place April 21, 2012 on the UT Campus. Interactive tables are expected to feature demonstrations of stop-motion animation, 3D printing, robotics, rocketry and various community programs. Show your support for Austin’s young innovators and our highly-creative entrepreneurial community if you’re in town.
Plenty happening on the DIY scene- join the movement and get out from behind the screen a bit with some creative, hands-on activities to showcase the inventor in you.