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January 2016

Print the Legend

Print the Legend, the movie

By | 3D Printing, maker, Startup | No Comments

This weekend I finally watched the movie “Print the Legend“, it has been available in fact through Netflix since 2014.

Print the Legend

I was disappointed, because I thought there will be coverage of the open source movement in 3D printing, its origins with Adrian Bowyer and the RepRap project.

Nothing like this.

Focus is on the consumer and prosumer market: the creation and evolution of Makerbot and Formlabs. The star Bre Pettis and his fast evolution from maker to a corporate CEO, abandoning many of his initial values.

Climax moment when they decide to close the design and abandon Open Source Hardware. Zach Hoeken leaves the company with a clear declaration of disagreement with the new direction, he states it clearly in this post. I remember the comments for that period, but it is better to see the person explaining it in video.

I was shocked by the amount of people that were dismissed by the company, due to “not matching” the management point of view. With this accelerated growth all types of friction appear and you can see how they have to professionalize, up to the point of the big hit with the sale to Stratasys.

It is funny to know all the time across the documentary that Bre is going to stop being the CEO of the company…while he appears putting his life on it, loosing friends, loosing even his own identity for the company. As they say in The Godfather: “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business” 😛

Regarding FormLabs the most interesting piece is the Kickstarter campaign tha they ran -they closed 2.9 million dolars- and what it meant for them in terms of commitment, big delays to deliver, etc.

There is also an episode of founder leaving the company due to conflicts related to the direction to follow.

It seems this is the normal pattern in these startups with fast growth. Frictions show up, frictions that in a small group would be sorted out differently.

What is really sad is that a documentary just limits itself to this part of the planet like there was nothing else happening at the same time. Ultimaker is an example of startup very linked to the RepRap project beginnings and still operates from the Netherlands with an Open Source philosophy.

To summarize, it is worth watching “Print the Legend”, but have in mind this is a partial vision, only in USA, of the history.

Lasercuter engraving

Lasercut workshop in Betahaus

By | DIY, maker | No Comments

Recently I attended a lasercut workshop in Betahaus Barcelona.

Gerard was in charge, and he put a lot of effort to make everybody happy about the outcome, giving even the chance to cut something nice for each one. We could bring our own project.

They have a big Chinese lasercutter, I don’t remember the exact size but the largest side was sort of 130 cm.

We saw the process step by step to prepare the file for cutting or engraving, requirements from this particular lasercutter and the software to manage it.

In addition, we saw the particular aspects that are usually learnt by trial and error. Which speed and power is needed for each material and the impact you can get by the combination of those into a same material.

There was a really interesting tool for engraving on wood, a wood piece that had engraved on top a matrix with all the combinations of speed and power, so you could have an idea of the outcome for this lasercutter and easily pick what you need depending on the effect choosen.

The workshop was planned for the morning plus lunch, but we continued in the afternoon to do a couple of things, an engraivng in acrylic for another participant, and in my case an engraving of LynxCross gym logo. With color!!!

Lasercuter engraving

Lasercutter engraving the LynxCross logo

Thanks to the matrix piece we decided how much engraving we wanted, so how much deep we were going to burn the wood. Then with this we could cut a similar pattern with some coloured thin wood to get the perfect effect.

I have pictures of the piece engraved and the coloured woods glued on top, but I cannot state its finalised yet because I need to protect it with some varnish.

You can see here a pic of the logo in our gym. Love it!!!

Logo LynxCross

The logo, before gluing and polishing. The brown marks around the letters are due to the resins when wood burns, they disappear with polishing.

What do you learn in this workshop?

In addition to learning how to use this specific machine and you get access to it at a lower rate, you see all the process starting at the design and you need to adapt it to define the areas for cutting or engraving.

And an overwhelming world opens up with plenty of things you can make: from simple logo engravings on wood, to objects in three dimensions with 123d Make by mounting object sections. And if we start with other materials, yay!!

Thanks Gerard for all the effort and help!