DL1 is always looking for tolls to give students that will make collaboration easier. Collaboration is best when the group shares a common vision of the goal and there’s often no better way to get your group to subscribe to your vision than to pull the idea out of your head and put it into their hands.
Fab@Home, the large white box you’ve probably seen around DL1, is a 3D printer. It takes an idea you’ve modeled using a 3D modeling program like Maya, Rhino, or OpenSCAD and figures out how to lay down material to produce your model.
The way this works is:
(1) The user decides how big they’d like their model and in what material.
(2) The program slices the model into thin, flat layers.
(3) The program determines the best path to take to deposit the layer.
(4) The user moves the 3D printer to a starting position.
(5) The 3D printer follows the path determined in step 3.
If all goes well you are left with a physical model to show your group. Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board
Either way you’re making progress by rapidly testing assumptions. The software for using the Fab@Home can currently be found on the iMac ADDC-DL115. My next post will be on the materials used in 3D printing.