Desktop Factories in Every Classroom, Business and Home

desktop Factory 2
When the The Apple LaserWriter first hit the mass market in 1985, the desktop publishing revolution was born. With a starting price of $6995 the unit weighed a hefty 77 lb (35kg) and was 11.5 x 18.5 x 16.2 inches the first desktop printer was not the lightweight, disposable peripheral printers have become today, in every classroom, business and home.
23 years later and Desktop Factory, (previously mentioned on Ponoko Blog) are about to launch us into the 3rd dimension of desktop printing with their 125ci 3D Printer for under U$5000. The unit weighing around 90 lb (40kg) and 25 x 20 x 20 is only marginally bigger than the first Apple LaserWriter, and allowing for inflation, considerably cheaper.
desktop Factory
Desktop Factory CEO Cathy Lewis will be one of the speakers at the First Annual MIT Smart Customization Seminar to be held on November 10th at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA.
Cathy has been generous enough to grant us an interview to discuss her views on the future of 3D printing and her part in bringing 3D printing to every classroom, business and home.

Stay Tuned

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So it’s going to be 23 years before I can afford a 3D printer? That’s depressing.

Bogdan Bivolaru

There is already a similar machine, priced at 400$. See
Yes, it does not look so pretty, but it can duplicate its own parts easily. In the end it depends on what you really want, but I’d rather buy the 400$ machine.

This is cool – but when everyone can print their work in the school lab or in their garage, how will Ponoko make money?

‘Subtractive’ 3D printing is here and also cool and also affordable (e.g. ShopBot, A subtractive 3D printer (also called a CNC tool) can make things as small as a circuit board or as large as a house. It will fabricate the item from realistic materials such as wood, plastic, aluminum, foam, and many other materials. And will do it relatively quickly compared to ‘additive’ 3D printing. It will machine, carve, or sculpt from STL files or cut parts from virtually any vector file format. It is the type of tool that puts real manufacturing capabilities in the hands of individuals or garage shops and makes custom fabrication a possibility for any DIYer.

Don’t buy this. This business initiative is about closing off access.

Go buy a RepRap.

You can get the parts you would ordinarially manufacture with a RepRap from here:

And you can get the non-fabricatable parts here in a kit:

Then, you can use your RepRap to make another RepRap for when the first one breaks down, then make a few for your friends, so they can make them for their friends.

Incidentally, they work with polylactic acid, a plastic which is biodegradable and sourced from corn. Which leaves open the possibility that you can create your own raw materials or buy them from a local cottage industry.

Don’t buy this. Support a similar effort that actually cares to empower you, rather than just sell to you. Build a RepRap.

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