CMU School of Drama

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 Best of Digital Fabrication

Core77: 2016 was a great year for digital fabrication, with machines becoming smaller, cheaper and easier to use; technologies many of us could never dream of affording are starting to come within reach. Who'd have thought we'd ever see a desktop vacuum forming machine like the FormBox?


Mark Ivachtchenko said...

As shitty as everyone says 2016 has been, it's definitely been cool as hell when it comes to fueling the fire that is Maker culture. I've been going to the Maker Faire since I was a freshman in high school and the way it's grown has been incredible. Every year I go, even though it's usually the same companies and people showing their work, I'm amazed once again by another crazy creation they come up with. I've had the opportunity to see a lot of these machines in person including the computerized router and the Olo 3-D (which I'm glad got out of it's kick starter and is now producing). Taking these new technologies and implementing them into medicine is another huge step. I've seen 3-D printed human tissues being printed at the maker faire and it's crazy to think someone could actually 3-D print their own braces to fix their teeth. Finally, I think it's great that they add the little hand tool extra at the end because there are hundreds of antique hand tools that still work just as well as the computers we build today and I think any modern hand tool maker is impressive because of the high quality products they create. This type of quality is sometimes lacking in cheaper, kick starter products such as the Olo 3-D which has had it's own criticisms.

Cosette Craig said...

This article is just a continuing reminder/fire under my ass to learn about computers as they are the future of fabrication. There is value in learning hand skills but hand skills don’t get you big money or big payoff. There’s obviously beauty in something handcrafted and theres a certain element to it that isn’t reproducible. That said, using these machines makes work flow more efficient, cheaper in the long run, and the precision you can get in such a short timeline is incomparable.

Elaborating on the precision of these machines, there are things they can do that no human being could ever do. 3D printers and laser cutters have tolerance that the human eye can’t even comprehend. Although the margin of error is more lenient for us in theater as opposed to engineering, the ability to, say, 3D print quarter-inch scale furniture for a model box that is customized to your computer rendering or something you had in stock is far superior to a janky paper lookalike.