Here's a Kickstarter project that I just contributed to. The founders of SketchChair have developed software that allows you to easily design or customize a chair that can be cut by CNC routers (such as ShopBot), Laser, and other computer-controlled tools. The software will be free but they're looking for funding for development of their online community for sharing chair designs.
Entries in cnc (3)
We've talked about 3D printing before but this new machine is a first. The new machine, conceived by Enrico Dini, lays down sand along with an inorganic binder to literally build things out of rock.
The first idea that came to MY mind (and apparently the creator's own) was to use this to pre-fabricate buildings for lunar and Mars colonization. From what I understand those places have lots of sand. Hot!
Having access to a CNC router, LASER cutter, 3D printer, and CNC plasma cutter has changed how I see the manufactured landscape. I don't automtically assume that I must buy the things I want because it is now an option to fabricate them all. The decision, instead, is whether it's worth my time to engineer the item from scratch, build it, and then ultimately have the design languish on my hard drive.
I want a marketplace for machine-ready designs: an iTunes Music Store for objects. I recently purchased an assortment of IKEA's iconic Billy bookshelves knowing full-well how trivial it would be for the ShopBot to cut them out. I would have been far happier had I been able to download a toolpath from some sort of ShopBot App Store or Ikea's Build-Yourself Store, thrown in a piece of veneered particle board, and not had to drive three hours each way.
There are services and communities that are close to working as a repository of manufacturables but they're not quite there yet. There isn't one that has it all. Part of that is the industry (few standards, wildly different tooling options, etc.) but perhaps a bigger part is that the culture. Many of us want to buy things. I like the mall and I'm in the revolution!
One operation that's in the revolution yet doesn't eschew commercial interests is Ronen Kadushin. Kadushin's furniture sells in galleries and boutiques (at gallery and boutique prices, mind you) but that doesn't mean you can't have one. Kadushin's designs are all available for free under the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/Share-Alike license!
The Bird Table (left) can be made in minutes on an CNC router out of 12mm Birch plywood. Why don't you go make one now?
The only thing missing is the centralized store for dowloading (buying?) the designs. When you build that, let me know.