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robertogreco : makerbot   6

Alexandra Lange on 3D printers versus the sewing machine
"In March, Slate Magazine's Seth Stevenson provided a public service when he borrowed a Solidoodle 4, pitched as the "accessible", "affordable" 3D printer, and attempted to print a bottle opener from Thingiverse. [http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/03/solidoodle_4_testing_the_home_3_d_printer.html ] Results, as they say, vary, but he ended up, after a series of phone calls and false starts, with "a functionless, semi-decorative piece of plastic."

The bumbling encounter with technology is a popular stratagem for Slate, but here it pointed directly to the reason we're not seeing a 3D printer in every den. I've seen those rhino heads, those dinosaur skulls. They do not fill me with delight, but remind me instead of the cheap toys my kids bring home from birthday parties and I throw away in the night. Why bother? How is printing your Triceratops at home more creative, more making, than buying one from a store? In either case, step one is scrolling through pages of online options, pointing and clicking in 2D.

Stevenson concluded that 3D printing was no place for amateurs, but for tinkerers. Those able to work under the hood of the printer: to understand the terms in the manual, to customise or create their own products for Thingiverse. For such tinkerers, neighbourhood printing hubs like Techshop, where subscribers can go to use physical or digital tools, make more sense. Designers taking advantage of 3D printers' capabilities for rapid prototyping and small-batch production have already started farming out the actual printing to places like Shapeways. When we stopped having to fax even weekly, we all got rid of those machines.

But then Stevenson took a turn toward the larger question of craft. He wrote, "Once upon a time, people purchased sewing patterns (like a program from Thingiverse) and yards of fabric (like filament) and they made their own clothes. I wasn't alive back then, but I'm pretty sure the process sucked."

I must be older than Stevenson, because my mother and grandmother sewed clothes for me. My mother, aunt and I have all sewed clothes and quilts for my children. They are not amateurishly constructed. We managed to make them while also holding down full time jobs. And judging from the extremely active online sewing community, the active trade in old machines and patterns on Ebay, and the ease with which one can locate a scan of a thirty-year-old sewing machine manual, the digital age has not turned sewing into a novelty, but spawned a revival of interest. In fact, if 3D printers are truly going to become a consumer good, they have a lot to learn from the sewing machine.

Because Stevenson snidely generalised from his own limited experience, he missed the instructive dialogue between craft and the machine age. Post-industrial sewing is not a freak but a respite. In Evgeny Morozov's recent New Yorker essay on the new makers, he quotes historian Jackson Lears' critique of the Arts & Crafts movement as "a revivifying hobby for the affluent." I'd say middle-class: (mostly) women who aren't seeing what they want, at a price they can afford, in the marketplace.

There’s an appetite for the "refashion," recycling an old dress or an adult T-shirt, and turning it into something new. Once upon a time, the use of flour sacks as fabric prompted grain-sellers to start offering their wares in flowered cotton bags. If some boutique grain company began doing that again, there would be a run on their product. Under the technology radar, there's a community of people sharing free patterns, knowledge and results, without the interpolation of brands, constantly obsolescent machinery, or the self-serving and myth-making rhetoric Morozov finds in Chris Anderson's Makers. There are the answers to the questions "Why bother?" and "How creative?" Rather than sewing being a cautionary tale, 3D printing can't become a consumer good until it learns a few lessons from why we sew now.

Number one: what's not available on the market. If you have a girl child in America, it is often difficult to find reasonably-priced, 100 per cent cotton clothing for her without ruffles, pink or purple, butterflies and hearts. If you go to the boy section, you run into an equally limiting set of colors, navy and army green, and an abundance of sports insignia. A full-skirted dress, a petite skirt, prints for the plus-sized – there are plenty of styles that are not novelties but, when not in fashion, disappear from stores. Online you can find patterns to make any of the above for less than $10, and fabric at the same price per yard. Online you can find step-by-step explanations, with photos, of how to make that pattern. That world of patterns is vast, constantly updated, and historically rich. Yes, sewing your own garment will take some time, but then you will have exactly what you want. That's why women bother.



Second lesson: recycling. Say my mother did actually sew something amateurishly. That's not the end of the story. A mis-printed jet-pack bunny is so much trash (unless I buy a second machine like a Filabot to remelt my filament). A mis-sewn seam can be ripped out and redone. An old dress can be refashioned into a new one. A favorite vintage piece can be copied. Sewing does not create more waste but, potentially, less, and the process of sewing is filled with opportunities for increasing one's skills and doing it over as well as doing it yourself. What are quilts, after all, but a clever way to use every last scrap of precious fabric?

So far, 3D printing's DIY aspects seem more akin to the "magic" of an ant farm, watching growth behind glass. Sewing lets the maker find their own materials, and get involved with every aspect of the process. 3D printing could do this, and there are classes, but even at the Makerbot showroom the primary interaction seemed to be ordering from Thingiverse. My local sewing shop has to teach more women to sew to survive; I don't see the printer makers coming to the same conclusion.

In addition, the machines themselves are constantly becoming junk. It's not unusual for new technology to change quickly. That's the fourth Solidoodle since 2011. Makerbot is on its fifth generation. It is early days for 3D printing, and the machines may eventually stabilise. But the rapid obsolescence suggests a lifecycle closer to that of a mobile phone than of a washing machine, which might also turn consumers off. The sewing machine was considered a lifetime purchase.

Last but not least, sharing. This is the one consumer area where 3D printing approaches sewing's success. From the Free Universal Construction Kit to full-body scans, the idea of open-source, free, and social-media enabled printing has been built-in to the 3D process. Showing off what you made is better when you created it, rather than printed it out. On the sewing blogs, the process pictures are half the fun, and most of the interest. What does it really teach your children when you can get doll house furniture on demand, except a desire for ever-more-instant gratification? For me to believe in 3D printers as a home machine, I'd have to see the digital file equivalent of women in their off-hours, making up patterns as they go along, sharing mistakes, dreaming better dreams. 3D printing feels bottled up, professionalised, too expensive for the experimentation of cut and sew and rip and sew again.

Stevenson wrote, "most people would much rather just get their clothes from a store — already assembled by people employing industrial-level efficiency and a wide variety of materials," and that's true. What Solidoodle and Makerbot and the rest should be looking at is the people who have seen everything in the store and found it wanting."
alexandralange  2014  sewing  3dprinting  makerbots  making  makers  repair  reuse  glvo  sharing  obsolescence  process  howwework  cv  waste  utility  technology  fabrication  alteration  thingiverse  purpose  usefulness  solidoodle  makerbot  recycling  agency  need  necessity  patterns  clothing  wearables  techshop  shapeways  sethstevenson  craft  lcproject  openstudioproject  homeec  repairing 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Meet the makers: How my iSchoolers turned curiosity into circuits | Chalkbeat
"I know nothing about physical computing. But that doesn’t mean my students aren’t learning about it.

I know a little about cartography, design and feminism, which I teach at the NYC iSchool in Manhattan. But physical computing — the programming of physical objects that humans can interact with, like a bike helmet that lights up when it gets dark outside — is beyond what I feel comfortable teaching.

However, I believe curiosity is enough to drive a class, and I had a hunch that physical computing would be an incredible opportunity for teaching programming, electronics, craft, design, prototyping and an entire list of other skills like persistence and collaboration.

So in September, I launched a quarter-long class (then called Media Lab, after MIT’s home of tech/design experimentation) that asked students to experiment with three different platforms: sewable circuits, using the Lilypad Arduino; conductive interfaces, using the MaKey MaKey; and 3D printing using a MakerBot. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I learned from teachers I follow on Twitter that I should do it anyway, so I did.

The 18 students in that first class really had to teach themselves. Because I didn’t have the answers, they had to find them elsewhere. This was an empowering — but also often frustrating — experience, and the lack of structure led to spontaneous collaborations. The student who knew the most about sewing helped everyone else with that, while the students who were more comfortable with programming shared their skills.

Towards the end of the course, I asked if anyone would be interested in sharing their unusual experience in the class with others, and five students took the lead in putting together a workshop.

Since then, the “iSchool Five” have been invited to talk about their experience at conferences in Philadelphia and Boston. Their workshops introduce educators to “maker education” — a model grounded in the belief that we learn best by making physical things with accessible tools — by teaching them how to make paper circuits, like the kind you can find in greeting cards that light up or play music.

Their goal with these workshops is to take educators through the learning process they experienced in my class: some basic instruction followed by lots of figuring it out. They want participants to leave with the confidence needed to bring this approach back to their classrooms."
christinajenkins  education  teaching  physicalcomputing  learning  howweteach  2014  students  makeymakey  3dprinting  makerbot  arduino  lilypad  notknowing 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Does Tricycle Own the First 3D-Printed Buddha? | Tricycle
"Tricycle board president Werner Doyle dropped by the office today with what may very well be the world's first Shakyamuni Buddha created by a 3D printer. He's made from a corn-based material—and he's rockin' that Tricycle red!

3D Buddha Horizontal

We've found this video of a 3D printer making a Buddha head, but for now we're going to claim that Tricycle is in possession of the world's first 3D printer version of the Buddha's whole figure. (Of course, we're sure that it will be only a matter of time before our discerning readers prove us wrong.) Here's to history being made!"

[See also: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/sneak-peek-our-summer-2013-cover
http://www.tricycle.com/magazine/summer-2013
http://thomasjacksonphoto.blogspot.com/2013/06/tricycle-magazine.html
http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductPic.asp?PID=25841
http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=25841&MATCH=1 ]
buddha  3dprinting  makerbot  buddhism  red  shakyamuni  shakyamunibuddha  2013  tricyclemagazine 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Tobias Revell on the future of art and design at 'A New Dawn' by ArtEZ studium generale, 24 May 2013 on Vimeo
"Tobias Revell outlines how the willing acceptance and grasping of uncertainty has led to a new way of thinking in the present and a resurgence of romantic futurism. He gives specific examples of solutions outside of a 'grand plan', new production methods that liberalise and free design and art from larger systems. He shows how science-fiction imagery and fantasy have penetrated the arts.
Opening lecture at 'A New Dawn' by ArtEZ studium generale on 24 May 2013, Enschede, the Netherlands."
tobiasrevell  2013  art  design  designfiction  futurism  systems  towatch  artez  uncertainty  video  debate  reflection  critique  change  futures  kickstarter  bitcoins  makerbot  3dprinting  reprap  globalvillageonstructionset  opensource  opensourceecology  cohenvanbalen  thomasthwaites  manufacturing  control  consumption  economics  systemsthinking  bigdog  robots  technology  normalization  marsone  uncannyvalley  spacetravel  space  film  nasa  hierarchy  music  vincentfournier  prosthetics  evil  googleglass  internetofthings  superflux  dance  computing  data  anabjain  iot 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The New MakerBot Replicator Might Just Change Your World | Wired Design | Wired.com
"A generation ago, people messing around with those original Macs produced some terrible layouts—typically a dog’s breakfast of fonts and clip art. But then they got better. When those skills moved on to the web, an entirely new way of publishing was born—and a new industry to go with it. Desktop publishing changed the world.

Today most people’s first 3-D printing projects seem as unimpressive as those first desktop-publishing efforts. But the Replicator 2 line, with its easy-to-use software and optional dual extruder, is designed to accelerate the learning curve to more sophisticated objects by offering higher resolution (two to three times that of previous MakerBots), more colors, more complex shapes, and more reliable output. Add the web’s fast-growing libraries of free designs and it’s easy to see an emerging alternative to the mass-production model that dominates manufacturing today."

"Consider: Variety is free… Complexity is free… Flexibility is free…"
openstudioproject  classsupplies  edg  srg  replicator2  cad  longtailofthings  longtail  chrisanderson  autodesk  tinkercad  thingiverse  making  reprap  replicator  3dprinter  3dprinting  brepettis  2012  makerbot 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The Public Library, Completely Reimagined | MindShift
"Earlier this year, MAKE Magazine’s Phillip Torrone wrote a provocative article asking “Is it time to rebuild and retool libraries and make ‘techshops’?” In other words, should libraries join some of the other new community centers that are being created (such as General Assembly which we covered yesterday) and become “hackerspaces” or “makerspaces”?

“Yes!”, says librarian Lauren Smedley, who is in the process of creating what might just be the first maker-space within a U.S. public library. The Fayetteville Free Library where Smedley works is building a Fab Lab — short for fabrication laboratory — that will provide free public access to machines and software for manufacturing and making things."
libraries  lcproject  makerbot  2011  audreywatters  philliptorrone  laurensmedley  lafayettefreelibrary  library2.0  makers  hackerspaces 
november 2011 by robertogreco

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