Personal fabrication is an amazing feat: being able to press a button and then hold a completed item in your hand a short while later. Typically Fabbaloo focuses on 3D printers as the device of choice to do that, but the reality is that such devices are limited to producing only certain types of objects. This is a fundamental constraint based on their capabilities. True manufacturing of arbitrary objects requires more than just 3D printing – there are materials and shapes that must be made with other types of build tools, such as laser cutters, ovens, grinders, etc. One of the most complex aspects is the production of electronics, which currently can’t be easily done on common 3D printers. Such an array of tooling is usually not available to the home designer.
However, it’s possible to outsource this tooling and production. Ponoko, the distributed manufacturing service has taken a huge step in this direction by announcing their Personal Factory 4, which they term as your “Personal Making System”. It’s not on your desk, but it’s as near as your computer.
The new 3D print capability includes some great materials options: durable plastic, superfine plastic, rainbow plastic, stainless steel and gold plate.
PF4 combines both 2D and now 3D making technologies into one umbrella, and when combined with their friendly interface and open marketplace, makes a very attractive electronic workplace for interested makers.
How attractive is it? Well, we like the fact that there are no minimum order quantities nor any startup charges and online price calculations are virtually instantaneous. This really means a no-barrier way to begin making practically any kind of small object, including those involving electronics.
Think about it – how massive is the variety of objects that could be made by combining 2D, 3D and electronic components? Yeah – that’s what we’re thinking, too.