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Because This is the Future...
My kid, like half the other girls at
her school, wanted to be Hermione
Granger—queen nerd of the Harry
Potter world—for Halloween this year.
In the past, this would have meant a
lot of work to pull off. A lot of thrift
store shopping, a lot of handsewing,
a lot of approximations of Gryffindor
colors, crests, and details.
But this is the future, so every part
was easily available on Amazon. I bought the whole outfit from
crested robes to official Gryffindor tie in 30 seconds on my phone
while waiting in line at the grocery store. Which is exactly how the
future is supposed to work, I think.
The only problem was the wand. Not that there’s any lacking of
Hermione wands on the web. They are preposterously expensive,
detailed, hand-carved wooden versions. And there is the expensive,
but not preposterously expensive, light-up version that her best
friend at school has been showing off about for weeks. That would’ve
cost more than the rest of the outfit and all of the candy combined.
And then, of course, there’s the cheap plastic version. But, because
it’s the future, I knew that that one was no good. Reviews on Amazon and every other online retailer are absolutely vicious about
the thing. Too thick, wrong color, etc, etc.
Which left us wandless.
However. Because this is the future, I knew that our public library
as a whole range of 3D printers just waiting to be used. And, because
it’s the future, I knew that there’s a whole online marketplace of
free .stl files just waiting to be plugged into idle machines.
So I grabbed the kid last Saturday, and she and I had a maker
adventure. We crossed town to the main library, logged in, and
found ourselves the perfect Hermione wand. I taught her how to
set up the machine, how to feed the filaments into the old, abused
MakerBot, how to manipulate the digital files for the build to maximize efficiency. And I let her tiny fingers hit the print button.
For the next two hours, she sat transfixed , nose just inches from
the deposition head, face just hardly in the safety zone. And I saw
it, I saw the very moment her perspective of the world changed.
She held in her hand a tiny strand of filament, just that skinny
bit of plastic that fed through as we were setting up the machine.
She turned it over, looked at it, looked at the print job. She saw this
tiny, gossamer thread of brown plastic in her hand was the same
that was making the wand that she chose, that she helped design.
She watched nearly the entire build, unable to turn away.
She asked questions about architecture for the filling, why it was
hollow in some places, how the machine worked, how the files
worked. And I saw it all clicking.
We went online, found other things that she wanted to print, found
other projects that she wanted to make, other adventures in design
and manufacturing she wanted to explore. She was hooked. It was
all the magic that any little Hermione would ever want.
The end result of all this was a plastic wand. Detailed, but, you
know, MakerBot detailed. Glued together in four places and looking
as sophisticated as any 3D printed toy can look.
The whole build cost us $0.05.
But for her, it was everything. It beat those fancy wood carved
models, it beat her best friend’s fancy glowing thing. It was hers.
She built it. She made it. She took it to school proudly, where she
showed her friends, explained the whole 3D printing process to
anyone who would listen.
“I made it out of nothing,” she told them. She made it out
And this, I suppose, is the future. Children who know nothing
about design, nothing about machines, can build the toys of their
dreams out of nothing.
That’s just the start point. It only gets more exciting from there.
FROM THE EDITOR
Cutter Delivers Optimum Cost-Efficiency
is well suited for the machining of turbine blades
M2471 is a copy milling cutter with excellent
cost effciency thanks to its high metal removal
rate—even on low performance machines—
coupled with lower cutting material costs resulting
from its eight cutting edges (four per side) per
insert. These 12 mm positive cutting geometry,
round inserts with negative basic shape feature
Walter’s Tiger·tec Silver coating, ensuring maximum tool life.
Walter USA, LLC
Robot Gets Advanced Vibration Control
offers reduced shaft whip and settling time
The latest HSR four-axis SCARA robot uses advanced vibration control, a newly designed, highly
rigid lightweight arm and improved heat dissipation in the base unit to achieve new levels of continuous high-speed performance and repeatability.
Standard cycle time (with a 2-kg weight) of the
HSR robot is from 0.28 to 0.31 sec. and repeatability is from ±0.01 to ±0.12 mm. Maximum payload
capacity is 8 kg, with available reaches of 480,
550, and 650 mm.
The compact, space-saving design facilitates
integration, while a high maximum moment of
inertia allows a wide variety of end effectors and
applications. Electrical wiring and air piping are
internally embedded in the robot arm, preventing
interference with peripherals.
Applications include high-speed, high-precision
pick and place in assembly processes, as well as
packaging processes in the food, medical device,
pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors.