I’m still buzzing from Maker Faire, which Annelise captured beautifully in the last episode of Season 2 of MakerBot TV. I met thousands and thousands of people at the MakerBot tent, including people who were discovering us for the first time and people who had all three generations of bots at home.
And then there were people in the middle, like Jason Huggins, or hugs on Thingiverse. Jason was part of the Grid Beam booth just down the path from our tent, and stopped by during set up on Friday to say hello. When I asked him whether he was a MakerBotter, he said no, but that he was a part of the community and had a good Thingiverse success story. Incidentally, Jason is the founder of Sauce Labs, a cloud version of the website performance testing services Selenium that he also started. But he is an enthusiastic open source hardware guy, too.
Last fall, Jason started his project Bitbeam, which he explains this way on his blog:
Bitbeam = Lego + Grid Beam = Awesome
To clarify: Grid Beam is a construction system created by Phil and Richard Jergensen, and Bitbeam is a miniaturization of that concept to just the right scale that it’s compatible with Lego, and especially Lego Technic.
Jason added Bitbeam to Thingiverse last September as a file for laser cutting, and before the day was out, there were two derivatives including a version you can make on a MakerBot. He was really excited to tell me about that, and I was excited to hear it. One person put an open source hardware idea into the community, and someone else, a total stranger, took it from one way of making things into another in just a few hours.
And here’s how Maker Faire chapter of this story makes it more awesome. When Jason told me at our tent on Friday that he had still never seen his Bitbeams made on a MakerBot, I said I could easily run the file through ReplicatorG for him. I did that in a spare moment that same evening, which took me all of two minutes, and finally caught up with Jason on Sunday to show him the final product. This was the look on his face.
A Happy Hugs
And this was his tweet to me:
It’s nice when a grown up can be genuinely surprised and delighted by something. Jason told me that he has no real interest in laser cutting the Bitbeam pieces in balsa wood — although, I have to say I really think they’re nice looking — and would rather just tell the world to get a MakerBot and make all the pieces themselves. He twisted and bent the ABS parts in his hand and said the durability was better than the wood. Just to be sure of the quality of the design, we linked one up to one of his Bitbeam constructions on display. Perfect fit!
MakerBotted Bitbeam attached to laser cut Bitbeam
I was thrilled to meet Jason and to give him a little confirmation that his idea of making his designs on a MakerBot was a great one. This was really easy because we were at Maker Faire together, but this is exactly the kind of thing that happens in hackerspaces all the time. If you own a MakerBot, I hope you give yourself the thrill of making something for someone, and letting them tell you their ideas that could take over the world.
This stuff never gets old.