- By: Ken Gracey Published: 18 September, 2013 0 comments
As a kid, my brother Chip dreamed of having a manual milling machine and building a jetpack. Yet we worked with Dremel tools, balsa wood, soldering irons, Cox 0.049 engines and speakers. On Saturday we'd make our rounds to collect the stuff for our projects, from hobby stores, surplus shops and a local auction. Later we discovered computers, but even then could we have envisioned making parts this way? I just don't think so.
Today everybody who works with electronics and mechanical devices is impressed by 3D printers. 3D printers can output mud vase shapes that can hardly be molded or milled on a five-axis CNC, and this capability is available to anybody with an idea. President Obama talked about 3D printers in his State of the Union address, Maker Faire unleashes new 3D printing companies at every venue, and educational institutions everywhere are scrambling to find the right hardware for their classrooms.
When Radiant Fabrication approached Parallax Semiconductor about helping them finalize their Propeller-based control system for production we were thrilled to study their design, knowing it's an ideal application for the Propeller. We were very inspired by the Radiant Fabrication vision: high speed printing with four heads, an integrated one-click system with a build-a-block kind of modeling software, and built-in scanning capability. And perhaps most importantly, Radiant worked through the prototype process in completion before heading to Kickstarter. We had used several 3D printers prior and had become very aware of 3D printing "gotchas".
This could be the most significant 3D hardware introduced in education. It takes this kind of ease of use and fast results to capture the interest of a smartphone-wielding teenager.
Take a look at Radiant Fabrication and their Kickstarter introduction. Back the project and you're indirectly supporting Parallax's development of the next-generation Propeller 2!