Hackerspaces/makerspaces tend to accumulate certain types of stuff. One major category, measured by both money and square footage, is rapid prototyping. In concrete terms, this means things like CNC mills and lathes, 3d printers, laser cutters, and such. While many of these are a bit expensive for everyone to own just yet, that’s why we exist.
There’s a lot written on the subject of rapid prototyping, but it’s relevant to everyday people because it means a change in the way we think about products. As do-it-yourself gets faster and easier, it starts to displace traditional manufacturing in ever more situations.
When I explain the CNC area to guests, I compare it to a mechanical typewriter and a word processor. With a traditional machine, once you’ve made your first part, making a second one is almost as time-consuming. It’s like typing a whole second copy of a document, versus just clicking “print” again. With the machines here, you can “print” physical objects (though the setup is sometimes a bit more complicated than loading paper). This also means that certain design features, like curves and generated shapes that might be hard to do by hand, are easy to include in your digital design.
But the other cool thing about digital designs is that, just like documents, you can share them! Email a copy to a friend around the world, or post them online for anyone to download. That’s what Thingiverse is about — some of the people behind the Makerbot project started a website just for sharing digital designs for rapid-prototypable objects.
So when I spent a few hours last Thursday designing a simple laser-cuttable Battleshots board, I didn’t want that work to be spent on making just the single game I needed. With a few clicks to export the files in a Thingiverse-approved format, and a few minutes to upload them and write the description, I created my first Thing. Now anyone can download it, visit their friendly local laser cutter, and make a copy! A custom-made drinking game, the product of personal production.
…”What Cheryl Willard, Irina Laura and Sarah Morgan do on those silken ropes is nothing less than a sublime balance of poetry and magic; three disciplined bodies amplifying the festive mood of a public event or three ethereal forms defying gravity before a rapt audience.”
“A renaissance talent worthy of a Renaissance City, Kristine Diven has managed to carve an admirable niche for herself since arriving in Detroit several years ago. An accomplished photographer, she reconciled the mirror images of time and beauty with her book Cathedrals of Decay.”…
It goes on to talk about the steampunk parties thrown at District VII.
So where would such artists go to practice, to brainstorm, and to broaden their talents? i3 Detroit, of course!
Also, a tip of the hat to “that other hackerspace” OmniCorp Detroit, who just got a cool writeup in the Metro Times. Cover story, even! Nice to see the media taking notice of all the cool stuff hackerspaces are doing…
Are you dipping your toes in the DIY world for the first time? Come to Open Shop and hang out with some experienced hackers and makers! Bring a project to work on, if you’d like.
Are you an expert who’s reached the limit of what your garage / basement / whatever can handle? Come to Open Shop and check out the capabilities we’ve amassed.
Non-members are explicitly welcome at i3 Detroit any time our Twitter feed says so, but since that switch is flipped any time someone’s around, it can be hard to predict. Open Shop Friday is our regular open-door event, when anyone’s welcome to visit, work, learn, and if it seems like a good idea, join as a member.
Whether you’re a total newbie or an accomplished Arduino user (or even a fan of a competing platform), you’re welcome at this monthly event. There may be show-and-tell, there may be projects to work on, there may just be a lot of hanging out. It’s anyone’s guess, so just show up!
(Note: This was originally on the calendar for 7:00 but as you can see in the calendar sidebar, it’s been adjusted to 7:30! Good chance someone will be around if you arrive early, though.)
It’s only 148 days until Maker Faire Detroit! Are you ready?
Open Shop Friday at i3 Detroit is a perfect time to make progress on your project, meet other area hackers and makers, and enjoy our fantastically repaired furnace. (Thanks Eric!) Maker Faire isn’t the only event coming up, of course, glance at the calendar! Notacon is right around the corner, Penguicon after that, Maker Faires happening all over the place… get busy!
phone: (248) 906-8473
Stay Informed – Mailing Lists
|Subscribe to i3 Public Group|
|Visit i3 Public group|