Four years ago, when we built a whole website around the idea of 3D printing, I predicted a trend toward what I called a 3D Kinko's, where anyone could get a CNC cutout or a 3D printout at a neighbourhood shop like they get a photocopy now. I thought it would be many years before the equipment was cheap enough that people could actually own it. But things are moving much faster than I ever dreamt; Furnlab is developing a CNC machine that will start at $2500.
Founder Jeffrey Matthias writes:
We needed a dependable full-size CNC machine setup--so that FurnLab could successfully design, produce and sell super awesome furniture. But the cost of a CNC machine with a tool changer and vacuum hold-down system rang in at more than $48,000!
We were disheartened to find that not only could we not justify the cost of even an entry-level system, but neither could we find any DIY plans that would provide us with the professional, full-size, low-cost machine we so desperately needed.
So they developed an open source design that anyone "with a toolbox and a dream" can assemble for between $ 2500 and $ 7500.
Image credit furnlab
The implications of this are significant. Two years ago, I wrote Ponoko + ShopBot = 100K Garages: This Changes Everything In Downloadable Design. But there aren't a 100,000 garages, and 3D cutting and printing services are still not as common as copiers. People still go to IKEA for flatpack instead of the corner copy shop for a printout. But if a 4' x 8' machine costs only $ 7500, perhaps they will start popping up everywhere.
Instead of shipping stuff all over the world and stacking it in suburban big box stores, production will again be seriously local. That's something worth supporting.
More at Furnlab, or invest at their Kickstarter here.
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Ponoko + ShopBot = 100K Garages: This Changes Everything In Downloadable Design
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