I was able to visit John Biehler and his Thing-O-Matic by Maker Bot on Friday and I was pretty awestruck but the entire technology.
When I first saw John on Canada Day he only had a few samples with him from his two weeks with the machine.
He is certainly the first and only person I know who owns on and, john correct me if I am wrong, but you ordered your bot he got his shortly after I saw it featured on the Colbert Report.
When I visited his home and saw the apply named TK-421 Thing-O-Matic he had a huge assortment of stuff he has tried and showed me a few amazing samples of what the technology is capable of.
John is also making a second more advanced 3D printer called a Prusa Mendel and most of the pieces are made from his original Thing-O-Matic.
This tech is not for the faint of heart as you have to assemble it yourself and John spent some considerable time learning how too maintain and operate the machine properly but if you have some computer tech hardware knowledge along with about $1200 cdn you can start 3D printing too…
The loaded question I had for John was could he print me something I was looking for?
I was looking for a cable holder for my office at home. I hadn’t needed one until recently, but a quick catalog check and I didn’t want to pay $10 for a piece of plastic I knew only cost at most a buck to produce.
With in seconds john had found a design on thingiverse, a vast catalog of designs that you can print. You can find everything from busts of Yoda and Steven Colbert to that cable holder you always wanted…
The software even tells John what it will cost him to produce the product.
“That be a total of 37 cents Robert, will that be Visa, Mastercard or Amex?”
Search in my pockets for some change I found 40 cents and left it on the table. We both had a chuckle over that… 20 minutes later I had the piece in my fingers.
John also has complete control over the density of the product and the speed it would be printed.
In closing 3-D printing is quite the technology and I Look forward to this technology advancing in the coming years. We’re along way away from having a Star Trek Replicator in our homes, but for the first time I seen something that can make a product upon request with in minutes…