Technology: Mini-CNCs

A Kickstarter that I’m hemming and hawing on buying into.

It’s impressive how far home manufacturing technology has come in just a few years.

And it’s funny how this kind of thing was not really foreseen in science fiction (at least in this form) until it actually appeared in the real world. Sure, you have hints of it here and there, but most often the ability to produce an object, component, or whole device on demand involved handwaving like “replicators”, “Motie Watchmakers”, nanotechnology, or the like. Even Vinge doesn’t (at least in the books I read) delve into the nuts and bolts when he shows future characters able to be self-sustaining in small groups at a high level of tech through compact manufacturing technologies.

Another decade of development and we’ll likely have an all-in-one machine that can do additive and subtractive manufacturing in one unit. It’s already in the cards: I’ve been waiting two years for a local company to run a Kickstarter campaign for their device, which features quick-interchangeable heads for machining, filament-based 3D printing, and epoxy-based stereolithography (and who knows what else by now). We’re working on something in-house at my company along similar lines (but tied to a specific type of product…an all-in-one but not general purpose machine).