Great post about the enabling power that tools can have.
Last week while visiting NYC Resistor, Bre (or Adam) told me that once you start making things with the laser cutter and 3d printer, it changes your whole outlook about what’s possible and how to make things. All I did was watch the printer operate and see the parts that had been cut with the laser, and it’s already having a profound effect on my thinking.
I have a certain amount of time dedicated to hacking and making things (outside my regular job working on Ubuntu Linux – where I am lucky enough to be paid to hack and make). I have waaaay more things I’d like to do than I will ever have time to work on. These rapid prototyping tools have the potential to radically close the gap between what I want to do and what I can actually complete.
Epiphany, paradigm shift, whatever. I knew about these tools, and I knew what they did, but somehow never made the leap to understand what they could mean to my projects. Here’s one example from my mental review of my project list: I’ve been playing off and on for months with building a ‘striking’ device that could be used under MIDI or arduino control to play music using found devices. I have a box full of solenoids, and have fabricated a few trial devices using aluminum angle and various other pieces. When I arrive at a useful design, I will still have to build dozens of them in order to complete the project. All that thinking is old and busted. I should be experimenting with rapidly prototyped parts, and when they work I can just make a production run.
Time to jump into the new learning curve. I’ve had a look at the tools, and they’re well written, open source, and make sense.