Fabbaloo recently caught up with Adafruit's Limor Fried to discuss her views on 3D printing. Here's the interview:
Fabbaloo: Adafruit recently partnered with MakerBot to produce a bundle of DIY electronics and the capability of 3D printing. Do you see further collaborations with 3D printer manufacturers or 3D print services?
Limor Fried: We'll see electronics makers working with 3D printing companies (hardware and services) to empower their communities, by that I mean we'll see electronics start to take on more interesting forms because the enclosures can be printed or sent off to be printed. For years we've just had the circuit boards on our desks, now they can look amazing with enclosures and functional parts, from cases to robotics parts.One members in our Adafruit community is making a Raspberry Pi powered robot snow blower that is completely 3D printed, all at home!
Fabbaloo: Has 3D printing enabled the development different types of electronic kits?
Limor Fried: 3D printing is allowing us to quickly test out a lot of ideas and directions, for our wearable line up we're interested on how electronics and 3D printing could be beautiful to build, print and wear.
Fabbaloo: Do you see a relationship between 3D printing and DIY electronics? How do you see this relationship developing in the future?
Limor Fried: I think companies that make electronics ultimately have some type of 3D printing offering, maybe it's the files to print the case to a phone like Nokia, or maybe it's like Adafruit and you get enclosure files when you get a kit or electronic component. We partnered with MakerBot to have a great out of the box experience, while you're soldering up a DIY watch kit you can be printing out the enclosure to wear it!
Fabbaloo: Do you own a 3D printer? What kind? What do you like to print?
Limor Fried: At Adafruit we have a growing collection of 3D printers, MakerBot replicator & Replicator 2, parts to a make a couple 3D printers and an UP! Printer. Most of the time we're printing out enclosure ideas for our products.
Fabbaloo: Aside from 3D Printing, how's the electronics business going lately?
Limor Fried: Adafruit tripled within the last year or so, we're working around the clock (sometimes making clocks!) to keep up with the demand. We have amazing customers and distributors that are building and sharing all their projects, this is a fantastic time to be a maker and an open-source hardware company!