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MakerBot: 3-D Printing Made…Cheap!

Printing is bound to be a thing of the past…..

…or is it?

What normal person can’t see the limitations of two-dimensional printing? I know that delicious apple can look really tantalizing flattened on glossy paper after being spray tanned with colorful life. Or maybe that tunnel shot you printed with a little help from some atomic match making is really pulling you in with it’s illusion of depth. Regardless of which printing method you prefer, it’s still…unreal, shallow, dissatisfying or just plain ol’ flat! Time to move into the future…..

….with 3-D printing!! I know this sounds ridiculous; trust me I could barely believe it myself, but it’s technology that’s been around since I was in the womb.

– For those of you who don’t know what a 3-D printer is or how one works, allow me to explain:

A 3-D printer is a device that prints in 3-D. BOOM! Now for how it works. It’s actually surprisingly simple. Using 3-D modeling software (free options like Blender or Google Sketchup are available), one creates their desired object and just as one would print a two-dimensional image, sends the file to the 3-D printer. The printer then uses a motorized feed head that receives a plastic ‘line’, heating it at the tip and, meticulously using the power of motion and placement, creates a three-dimensional object of your choosing through tedious layering of molten plastic. Awesome!

I was recently enlightened to this fascinating ability when visiting engineering schools. Of course they need this type of thing there so eager students can fabricate their functional (or non-functional) parts and design ideas. You should have seen my eyes light up! I’m still expanding my list of things I want to watch constructed layer by integral layer as I type. Unfortunately for me, my pockets aren’t gaining any mileage and these high-grade, massive 3-D printers are running for about $15,000. That is…until I saw this ad for MakerBot industries.

After very little hesitance I sold my Mac and signed up to be a proud owner of a CupCake CNC Deluxe Kit! Okay, so I don’t have a Mac, but with a MakerBot printer I could practically make my own for way less money. These beautiful little slivers of plastic molding, industrializing heaven only run for $950!! That’s if you buy the deluxe kit; you can get the CupCake CNC Basic Kit for only $750. There is no doubt in my mind that I might have to max out a credit card for this lovely dream machine. MakerBot’s CupCake kits are complete 3-D printing machines that can pump out molds within a small 4″x4″x6″ constraint, but what you make is completely left up to the imagination. The printer uses strong ABS plastic which is cheap yet quite durable (same ingredient in LEGOs that I chewed on as a 16 year old toddler). Even though the model limit seems small, one could easily create interlocking pieces and build fully functional, moving products. What’s even better? You get to assemble the MakerBot yourself!! So check it out you tech geeks. You know I’ll be in my laboratory day and night devising ways to take over the world. With my MakerBot by my side, nothing will stop me!!

MakerBot (don’t mind this chick; I had to use this video for it’s comedic value and Star Wars reference : )

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