Printing in three dimensions
ahhhhh...that's better. starting to chill a little. The campaign was extended for a few more days on account of the increase in media attention towards the end, but my personal spam campaign is over. it was a lot of work to get all that info in there, but its there, and there are 3 more days for it to marinate. all in all, i am very happy with the progress and looking forward to where it goes from here.
One great thing that has come from the campaign so far is the acquisition (ordered though not shipped yet) of a 3d printer called a reprap. just in case you don't know what 3d printing is, its a manufacturing process by which 3d computer aided designs (CAD) are printed using a machine that prints those designs in a process similar to inkjet printing where instead of ink, it lays down extruded melted plastic. where it differs is that as well as an "x" and a "y" axis, there is also a "z" axis, up and down, so the plastic is built up in layers until the piece is realized. you can create some amazingly intricate structures with this technique. even creating a classic whistle, WITH the little ball printed in side it!
3d printers have been around for decades, but they were very expensive to acquire or make use of. but in the last few year, there has been a movement to create cheap easy 3d printing for the masses. this is where Adrian Bowyers comes in. An engineer and educator at the University of Bath, his goal with his reprap concept and subsequent invention was to emulate a bio-memetic process whereby the printer itself is able to reproduce 50+% of itself which allows a reprap owner to print one for a friend, because, make no mistake, when your friends see it, they will want one. and to do this at a price point that would make people actually want to.
I can see this thing being everywhere in the next 12-18 months. At the MAKER Faire in NYC in September, there were reprap variations EVERYWHERE!! Dozens of them! this is a technology whose time has come. It is even being debated, "mp3-threat-circa-1999" stylee by the US congress (for whatever that means these days).
I was lucky that a friend pointed me to their indiegogo crowdfunding campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/RepRapPro-Huxley-3D-Printer-Kits?a=63894&i=addr which has about 2 1/2 days left in it. seeing as it is Adrian Bowyers own campaign, that this is MUCH cheaper and more complete than any reprap kits i have seen thus far, even including a roll of plastic filament to start with, AND they ship before christmas, I could not pass it up. its just too good!
what does this mean to the project?! hahahaha, this is going to result in the most surreal design trajectories you can imagine. first off, prototypes from now on will be of a commercial quality. solid, light and defined. unfortunately, this is probably going to impede my evolutionary trajectory of using clay and cardboard, but sacrifices have to be made for progress;-) The things i make at home will be as good or better than anything i would seek to have produced in china or some other manufacturing center. in the short term, this means that the parts on the controller, such as joystick heads, backplate, key ridges, internal shock mounting and palm adjustment, will be of a VERY high quality and very durable. this is as exciting to me as pure data; one process creates something that lives in the computer and a similar process produces integrated real world counterparts. the mind boggles at the possiblities! in the long term, I would like to look at possibly adapting this technology to producing a wide array of things using a wide array of input materials. I have no shortage of potential uses for this tech.
Ok, I gotta get back to the sound design work. l8r.