The Makerbot's handy desktop marvel is taking design to the next level with the Thing-O-Matic, which creates 3D prints/ of your choosing. Don't let the name put you off this amazing piece of personal design ware and, who knows, it might unlock a designer in you.
I was playing with Fimo the other day (you know, the modelling clay that you roll cut, shape and bake) and I could not seem to create a model form of the beautiful things that I had designed in my mind or on paper. In fact, they were just abysmal and I was on the verge of giving up when, during one of my daily creative browses on the internet, I came across a product that had been made by Makerbot; The Thing-O-Matic. At first, I was slightly put off by the name but then, after doing some research, I realised the title was due to the fact that it is like your own personal production line for your desktop and makes thing after thing once it has been programmed accordingly.
This cool little machine makes models from files that are created on your computer and uploaded into the printer via USB and it gets to work on your 3D object. It uses files called .STL which contain the surface geometry information for the machine to use and create your desired design. Sounds rather complicated doesn't it? For those who are wanting to create but without the hassle of learning how to create 3D model mishaps on their computer then there is a database of model files that can be used and modified to your liking.
These databases are best found through the Makerbot's site Thingiverse or a stack of ideas that Google has stored up for us to use. Nice. OR... why not just scan a real object that you want to make a copy of using the special material that theThing-O-Matic uses.
The Thing-O-Matic uses ABS plastic which is heated up into a resin that is then pushed out of the toolhead on to the build platform to create your object by layering with precision. And for those who worry about making models and fear that they may pollute the environment, there is the option for biodegradable plastic that won't even harm a fly.
It has been used to create a magnitude of different prints; including jewellery, valentines gifts, mini empire states building, turtle shells.... and the list goes on.
Man Dinosaur Hybrid... it is the Thing-O-Matic afterall.
So, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a designer, or want to have a back-up plan if you forget a special occasion, try this neat little machine out and see what you can make.
For more information about Makerbot's Thing-O-Matic, click here.
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Credits - Thingiverse
Written by Ben Taylor