Mcor Technologies recently launched a brand new rapid prototyping machine. The Mcor Matrix forgoes the standard of expensive and rare build materials by using A4 office paper. The machine selectively deposits glue on the sheet of paper: more glue on the cross-section, less on the waste. It then uses a blade to cut out the part profile. The vertical resolution is determined by the paper thickness. You can use either 20lb paper, which has a thickness of .1mm, or 40lb, which is twice as thick, so it will build twice as fast. The final part can be sanded and painted like wood. The idea is similar to LOM, but those machines require specialized paper. It’s nice to see a company intentionally target a low cost of ownership. If they had used a laser though, you’d only have to worry about sourcing the glue. Machine and material prices have yet to be announced.
The RepRap is a self-copying 3D printer. The project has published plans for creating a lasercut acrylic version of the device. They call it a RepStrap since once assembled it could produce printed plastic versions of the machine components, bootstrapping true RepRaps. The plans are available for Ponoko an on-demand product service, and it would cost ~$380 if you used their service. The plans are free, so you could get them manufactured by other means. [vik] is still putting together the assembly instructions. He hopes to have an all inclusive electronics kit at some point too. This is another great step towards putting desktop manufacturing within reach of everyone.
Want to get a bigger tv but can’t afford it? If you Have a rear projection TV, why not just get a bigger screen? That’s exactly what was done here. They dismantled the old TV, mounted it and enclosed it theater style, with curtains. They then mounted a new screen in front of it and voala, bigger TV. He doesn’t talk about how much brightness was lost, but there had to be some. The final picture looks great.
Today at The Last HOPE, [Far McKon] from Philadelphia’s Hacktory presented on community fabrication. Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot of different accessible rapid prototyping machines created. There’s the RepRap, a fabrication machine that has achieved self replication; our friends at Metalab have gotten their own version of the machine running too. The Hacktory has recently acquired a Fab@home machine. Fab@home hopes to make manufacturing using multiple materials accessible to home users. Multiple materials means people have constructed objects that vary from embedded circuits to hors d’oeuvres. We can’t talk about edible prototyping without bringing up the CandyFab machine, which fuses sugar. The Hacktory has enjoyed their machine so far, but have found the learning curve fairly difficult. While it’s great to see the cost of rapid prototyping dropping, we’ll be much happier when the ease of use improves.
[Christopher Jette] did a amazing job converting a 56″ rear projection television into a multitouch display. His original inspiration came from this drafting table project. The screen is a large sheet of 1/2″ acrylic with a screen material attached to the back side. The screen edge is surrounded by 168 IR LEDs. When a finger tip touches the surface it scatters the LEDs’ IR light. A webcam sees this scattered light and determines where the fingers are. Inside the box is a standard video projector. This is a great reuse of old equipment and we love to see a hobbyist making up ground where manufacturers aren’t. For more info on multitouch projects, we suggest the Natural User Interface Group. Here’s a video of [Christopher]’s display in action:
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