Monday, February 17, 2014

Maker Homework: Prepping for My First Visit to a Makerspace (Part 2)

If you haven't read part 1 you might want to start there. This is a continuation of my tool analysis.

6. Vacuum Forming Station
Vacuum forming is basically molding a piece of plastic to a set mold. This video shows the process pretty well. I could see this being useful if I were prototyping a product and wanted to get the look of it even down to the packaging. It would also be a good way to create signs with some depth to them.

7. Injection Molder
I am learning all kinds of things about manufacturing that I have never knew before. Injection molding is the main way to make a plastic component. We now have 3D printers that can make simple prototypes but injection molders can be used to make the same piece over and over again and rather quickly. Here is a good video about it. Basically it has a hopper and a screw drive that pushes the melting plastic into the mold. The plastic drys and you have a solid plastic piece.

8. 3D Printer
If you haven't heard about 3D printers yet you are missing out. The first time I saw one was at a conference and it was cool but 3D printers on display are always printing toys. People are using 3D printers to prototype real products and in fact most 3D printers were themselves built using parts that were 3D printed. I have been wanting to build a 3D printer for a while now but the most affordable ones are still $500. I basically works by melting plastic and placing it in layers to build up a 3D object. As always here is a link to a video that shows one in action.

9. Laser Cutter
This stuff just keeps getting better. So Kara doesn't see all the potential that I see in these tools. However even she admitted that a laser cutter looked pretty cool after she saw this video. A laser cutter is exactly how what it sounds like. A laser that cuts things. But since it is controlled by a computer you can cut very specific things. It can actually cut all kinds of mediums and not just paper. It cuts plastic, wood, paper, ceramic, and probably more. I really hope they have a laser cutter because this is pretty cool stuff.

Ok that's round 2. Time for bed. I plan on taking pictures of the makerspace tomorrow and i'll report back. If you find other cool tools or videos of cool projects post them in the comments.


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