Home Fabbers a step closer

A recent tweet from Bruce Stirling pointed me in the direction of the kit for a new home fabber unit, the Cupcake CNC machine.

Makerbot Industries – Cupcake CNC from MakerBot Industries on Vimeo.

Fabbers (Fabrication Units) are essentially 3D printers, which can cut or form an object out of materials, normally plastic. In the case of the Cupcake CNC, it extrudes thin molten plastic precisely to form the object. There have been industrial versions for many years, but the idea of the home fabber is something I think I first heard mentioned about nine or ten years ago, quite possibly by Bruce Stirling.

This idea has interested me for some time. It’s the prospect of manufacturing in your own home, being able to download new designs for objects, make new ones yourself. Possibly being able to recycle plastics into new objects, making cups or plates when you need them, rather than having to buy them. It really is a device I can foresee being in most homes eventually. And devices like these are the transitional ones, just like the computer kits that Bill Gates and Clive Sinclair amongst many others sold in the 70s that quickly became the first commercial home computers, these are the first steps towards that idea becoming reality. I can’t wait!

Postscript:

It’s a little odd and great all at the same time that I can refer back to myself eight years in the past.

Copywrite

These strange college students with their funny jargon and nerdy ways did more to start the computer revolution than any silicon engineering team. naturally curious, these MIT students had devoted their lives to intellectual tinkering. they believed in a co-operative society and imagined themselves living in a utopian world in which people shared information – sometimes without regard to property rights.

Stephen L. Kent – the first quarter (talking about the creators of the first video game, Spacewar).

what Stephen Kent talks about here is the start of not only the arcade game revolution, but also the attitude which was later to form the basis of the morals of the internet. a world where the right to speak, the right to own is paramount, over any international boundaries, over and above any laws. if it could be obtained through the internet, whether sound, image or text, it has been exchanged. as such, this had led to use by groups finding themselves outside of the law, in the case of pornography and music, or outside of law and morality, such as pedophiles and terrorists.

in recent years, groups who feel that they have rights over information have started to lay their claims more strongly. the music companies have taken Napster to court, and at this moment in time look close to preventing exchange through that means. however it is very likely that by cutting the head off “the monster”, this will only serve to cause many more heads to grow back in its place. this again seems to be part of the nature of the internet.

the latest step forward in these technologies is file sharing between fabbers. fabbers are industrial devices for creating objects from material, normally plastics. they follow a set of instructions to carve or mould (amongst other techniques) a wide variety of things. now one of the companies involved in this process are proposing sharing these sets of instructions online. there could come a time where fabbers are compact and available in the home. if you want to buy sometime, you could download the file for it and create it at home. or potentially, pirate the instructions and create it at cost solely of the materials, just the same as burning a cd from mp3’s you’ve downloaded.

since the internet has “arrived”, it has brought a slackening of the corporate control over property rights, which could potentially lead to a change reversing the industrial revolution, with many consumer products actually created in the home.