An automat of wireless 3D printers

vending

There’s a lot of really cool 3D printer stuff happening in the fashion district of NYC this month. It’s called 3DEA, and shows off  the awesomeness of Shapeways, Ultimaker, and the Up! 3D printer to all the fashionistas, trend setters, and the caliphate of coolness that is midtown Manhattan. The folks at Ultimaker wanted to bring something awesome to this exposition and came up with the Vendingwall: a wall of 3D printers connected into a vending machine able to print multiple objects at once.

Ultimaker has made a name for themselves as the top open source 3D printer manufacturer with absolutely impressive build quality and even a 20-foot-high printer able to manufacture entire rooms. The Vendingwall is their next step in the commercialization of 3D printers; all you need to do to create your own 3D printed object is walk up to the Vendingwall, order a print, and later retrieve from one of the many Ultimakers.

To control these ranks of Ultimakers, a piece of software runs on a wireless router loaded up with OpenWRT. From there, the router serves up a website powered by JQuery-mobile for all the Android and iDevices at the 3DEA open house, turning a wall of 3D printers into a vending machine reminiscent of the automats of yore.

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Swap-O-Matic: an automat with recycling in mind

The Swap-O-Matic is vending machine built for recycling, not consuming. Instead of feeding money into the machine, you can get an item out of the machine by swapping it for something you don’t need anymore. It’s a great concept with a great retro design, probably influenced by the age of the automat.

[Lina Fenequito] and [Rick Cassidy] built the Swap-O-Matic around the time [Lina] was getting her MFA. The build was in Wired in 2005, but the project has been updated since then and has a new home at LaunchPad in Brooklyn, NY. The first version used a separate computer next to the machine that gave out combinations to locks on the doors. It looks like the new version has been improved with an integrated touchscreen and computer-activated locks leaving [Lina] and [Rick] with a very clean build.

It’s a great idea if you have a relatively homogeneous population with similar interests, so we expect to see some of these popping up at a few hackerspaces. Check out the Swap-O-Matic promo video after the break.

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