As part of our week messing around in NYC, Susan and I decided to drop in at NYC Resistor to check it out and meet some fellow makers/hackers. There was some public event scheduled for Wednesday evening, so we dropped in early, and met a bunch of very busy and very friendly hackers, including Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer, Zach Smith, Rose White, and others that fell into my usual black hole for names.
When we arrived, there were a couple of people using MakerBots to print 3d items in plastic, and one working with a “frostruder” – a MakerBot set up for programmable application of frosting. These devices are amazing, and after seeing them in action, I think that they are a must-have device for anyone making things. Even more profound was to see the construction of the MakerBots, the acrylic laser cut parts for them, and other projects in the space that used the Epilog laser cutter at NYC Resistor. At well under $1000 for the MakerBot 3d printer, it’s a no-brainer. The laser cutter is a harder sell because of the higehr cost, but it’s easy for me to see the added productivity and ability to get things from thought to physical form very quickly. I’ve ended up ordering a MakerBot kit for Antitronics, and I already have things queued that I want to make with it. Less than an hour into the visit, and I could see how these tools could radically expand my project horizon.
The public event had been changed, and ended up being a presentation by Rich Gibson, who works for the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA-Ames/CMU-West. He showed the Gigapan robotic camera mount, and some of the resulting images. The camera mount is a fairly simple device which handles the pan, tilt, and shutter trigger to autogenerate the images needed for a large tiled image. gigapan has a back end that presents these in a zoomable interface that allows you to navigate the resulting image. Here’s the image Rich took as a demo during his presentation.
That would be enough for an amazing evening, but Susan and I noticed a knitting machine on a shelf. Knitting machines have been something that we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about over the last year or so. Susan now has two, and I’ve been tossing around for the best way to automate the hook movement needed to operate one under computer control. This knitting machine (Brother brand) is already microprocessor controlled, and amenable to simple interfacing instead of having to invent all the mechanical bits. This machine was Bre’s, and we arrived at suitable terms and will have it at Sew Brilliant at the Flying Monkey. I’m certain that there will be updates about our adventures as we fire it up.
Thanks to everyone at NYC Resistor for the hospitality!