A few snips from the article that caught my eye:
“We are living in a fantastic renaissance of innovation right now,” says Bre Pettis, co-founder of MakerBot Industries and the NYC Resistor, a hacker collective. Groups like NYC Resistor bring together like-minded hobbyists to collaborate and build ideas with laser cutters, rapid prototyping machines, and electronic-building software. The group has even given rise to products, including Pettis’ very own MakerBot, a 3D printer available for under $1,000 (3D printers, typically costing several thousands of dollars, create objects by stacking plastic or metal layers on top of one another).
A little more than a year into business, Pettis has shipped more than 3,000 of his MakerBots to what-to-be inventors throughout the country. He says the device can make almost anything up to 4”x4”x6′. The device converts 3D CAD files into tangible, plastic models of any shape or size. It may take a little while to build the machine and master the software, but costs a lot less than what a development firm might charge you. “You can feel really comfortable coming up with ideas, printing it, making mistakes, and re-printing it,” Pettis says.
A number of products, and even companies, have spawned from the likes of MakerBots and hacker collectives as well. Pettis says the founders of the social network Diaspora met putting together a MakerBot in computer science class at NYU. Tinkerers can even share their homemade designs on a site called Thingiverse.com, which features everything from toy cars to salt- and pepper-shakers to robotic arms. With more ease of use and collaboration, DIY modeling today acts almost as a natural prelude to prototyping.
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