3D printing was big at Maker Faire. There were two tents devoted to it entirely and they were packed. I'm proud to say that I was in the booth that featured Maker Faire's largest 3D printer. Yes, the Cat D6 you see in the background is actually a 3D printer.
So this is the largest 3D printer I've ever seen, and it was certainly the biggest at Maker Faire. How does it work? See those two big masts that stick up from the blade in front? Those are highly sensitive GPS receivers. Inside this monster machine there are servos that are hooked to the steering controls. Feed in some terrain data and all an operator has to do is get in and push the gas pedal and the blade moves around to cut the terrain to centimeter accuracy.
How do you get that terrain data into the bulldozer? Well, you need a terrain scanning, autonomous scanning drone! Also something we had on hand.
That's right, with Trimble's Gatewing you can scan terrain, modify it in Sketchup, feed it into the dozer, and automatically reform the land. Unfortunately due to what I can only describe as "ridiculous" regulations, we were not allowed to send the dozer around digging up the Hall of Science.
But that wasn't the only 3D printer we had in the booth. Thanks to MakerBot Industries, we also had three MakerBots working overtime to make all the plastic widgets we could dream up. I've always been fascinated by 3D printers and CNC machines, going so far once as to build my own CNC machine. I've never had a chance to play around with a MakerBot. It was certainly a treat to use one. The ease at which you could take a Sketchup model and "print" it out in 3D was amazing.
The machines we got to use were these:
We made everything from replacement cell phone parts, to camera mounts, Bat wings, and Deloreans (in flight mode of course). In the coming weeks I will be posting more specific details about what we were making.
Bertier Luyt brought his EggBot which is a CNC machine for writing on eggs and other round objects. Yeah, I didn't get it either, just watch the video:
As if the weekend didn't get any more badass then getting to play with some of the coolest stuff a nerd could think of, I got to take a tour of Makerbot headquarters, lunch with Bre Pettis, their CEO and a tour of their new store in New York City that just opened. Check out what they have in the front window... This is a ball bearing roller coaster that aside for a few steel supports to hold the whole thing up, was made entirely with a Makerbot:
So it was truly an inspiring and amazing weekend. I've got so many pictures and stories to tell. I can't thank the Sketchup team enough for this amazing opportunity!
Stay tuned for more!