Hands-On the Shaper Origin: A Tool That Changes How We Build

I bet the hand saw really changed some things. One day you’re hacking away at a log with an ax. It’s sweaty, awful work, and the results are never what you’d expect. The next day the clever new apprentice down at the blacksmith’s shop is demoing his beta of his new Saw invention and looking for testers, investors, and a girlfriend. From that day onward the work is never the same again. It’s not an incremental change, it’s a change. Pure and simple.

This is one of those moments. The world of tools is seeing a new change, and I think this is the first of many tools that will change the way we build.

Like most things that are a big change, the components to build them have been around for a while. In fact, most of the time, the actual object in question has existed in some form or another for years. Like a crack in a dam, eventually someone comes up with the variation on the idea that is just right. That actually does what everything else has been promising to do. It’s not new, but it’s the difference between crude and gasoline.

My poetic rasping aside, the Shaper Origin is the future of making things. It’s tempting to boil it down and say that it’s a CNC machine, or a router. It’s just, more than that. It makes us more. Suddenly complex cuts on any flat surface are easy. Really easy. There’s no endless hours with the bandsaw and sander. There’s no need for a 25,000 dollar gantry router to take up half a garage. No need for layout tools. No need to stress about alignment. There’s not even a real need to jump between the tool and a computer. It can be both the design tool and the production tool. It’s like a magic pencil that summons whatever it draws. But even I had to see it to believe it.

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The Origin of the Arduino

If you ever wondered how the Arduino came into being, check out [IEEE Spectrum’s] article entitled “The Making of Arduino.” From it’s humble origins in Northern Italy, the Arduino, as shown by a large number of projects featured at [HAD], has become the go-to processor for DIY processing power. It’s cost (around $30) and ease-of-use are some of the biggest factors allowing it to become such a huge success.

One thing that interests many people about the Arduino is that it is totally open source, licensed under the Creative Commons License.  This was quite innovative in itself since the CCL was generally applied to works of art like music and writing.  Despite the fact that [Banzi] and his team decided to literally give the design away, 0ver 250,000 of these boards have been sold worldwide not including their many clones.

If you’re wondering how it got the name “Arduino”, it’s named after a bar named “Bar Di Re Arduino” in the Northern Italian town of Ivrea.