This Week in Sharing: 3D Printing Upgrades to Prime Rib

Curitiba Library Train photo via Pop-Up City.

In 1904, When William and Mary Goodwin sang “Oh, give me the steed and the gun that I need, to shoot game for my own cabin home” in their version of “Home on the Range”, they couldn’t have imagined that a century later, a machine would let them do both without leaving their abode. Yep, this week in sharing we had 3D printed steed, 3D printed guns, as well as open source alternatives for those living a life of letters.

The 3D printing movement is still in its salad days, but it could soon be upgrading to prime rib. That’s the wager likely Bioshock villain Peter Thiel is making by investing in 3D-printed meat. The cell-culturing science behind it, detailed over at Fast Co.Exist, veers towards the Cronenbergian. This is probably why the startup Modern Meadow is starting with leather before moving on to consumables. Given the cruelty of factory-farmed meat, the notion is compelling, if a bit unnerving. Still, it’s not quite as unnerving as the recent prospect of 3D printed assault rifles.

There have been many claims in recent years that a $200 netbook or a $500 interactive piece of glass can revolutionize education and make learning tools accessible to all. The results are inconclusive. But what may actually disrupt higher education’s business as usual is its increasingly unbearable cost. For cash-strapped students facing down years of student loans, and uncertain job prospects, free open source textbooks may be a better deal than interactive iBooks boasting expensively-produced video clips. TIME takes a look at OpenStax College, a nonprofit developing 25 open source textbooks for introductory college courses.

The latest mainstream press outlet to report on the rise of the sharing economy is U.S. News and World Report, in which David Brodwin of the American Sustainable Business Council offers a primer on collaborative consumption. Though much of the background will be familiar to Shareable readers, Brodwin raises a number of well-timed questions and critiques, including the need for a more unified trust verification solution among services, which we’re investigating in our Trust and Community series. He also asks how economies of scale will apply to collaborative consumption, and whether such issues will compel services to consolidate. 

All aboard the book…train? Curitiba, Brazil’s venerable Cable Car, which previously served as a tourist info spot, has been converted into a public library train, lending books to the town’s residents for free. Bearing a retro-psychedelic paint job, the library train cleverly reclaims an urban landmark while offering a new spin on libraries.

In Apple’s ongoing pissing match with Google, it’s public transit users who will get screwed with the release of iOS 6, which replaces the default Google Maps app with an aesthetically-refined replacement lacking transit directions. OpenPlans is working to address that oversight — as well as Google Maps’ transit mapping hegemony — with OpenTripPlanner, an open source public transit application for iOS 6 and eventually Android. There’s two days to go on the project’s Kickstarter. A donation is small cost for iOS users who want to maintain access to transit directions, while taking a rare opportunity to simultaneously give both Apple and Google the finger.

Build Your Own CNC Machine (Technology in Action)

Do you like to build things? Are you ever frustrated at having to compromise your designs to fit whatever parts happen to be available? Would you like to fabricate your own parts? Build Your Own CNC Machine is the book to get you started. CNC expert Patrick Hood-Daniel and best-selling author James Kelly team up to show you how to construct your very own CNC machine. Then they go on to show you how to use it, how to document your designs in computer-aided design (CAD) programs, and how to output your designs as specifications and tool paths that feed into the CNC machine, controlling it as it builds whatever parts your imagination can dream up.

Don’t be intimidated by abbreviations like CNC and terms like computer-aided design. Patrick and James have chosen a CNC-machine design that is simple to fabricate. You need only basic woodworking skills and a budget of perhaps $500 to $1,000 to spend on the wood, a router, and various other parts that you’ll need. With some patience and some follow-through, you’ll soon be up and running with a really fun machine that’ll unleash your creativity and turn your imagination into physical reality.

  • The authors go on to show you how to test your machine, including configuring the software.
  • Provides links for learning how to design and mill whatever you can dream up
  • The perfect parent/child project that is also suitable for scouting groups, clubs, school shop classes, and other organizations that benefit from projects that foster skills development and teamwork
  • No unusual tools needed beyond a circular saw and what you likely already have in your home toolbox
  • Teaches you to design and mill your very own wooden and aluminum parts, toys, gadgets—whatever you can dream up

What you’ll learn

  • Build your very own CNC machine
  • Learn about linear movement and motion transmission

Who this book is for

Build Your Own CNC Machine is the perfect book for hobbyists who like to build and create using wood and metal. It’s especially for those who have ever been foiled by lack of specific parts to help realize their creative designs. Build Your Own CNC Machine is also an excellent choice for organizations such as scouting and church groups, school shop classes, and so forth, as it provides an educational project of modest cost that all can work on together.

Table of Contents

  1. Your CNC Machine
  2. Hardware and Tools
  3. Tips and Advice
  4. Movement Using Rails
  5. Joining Methods
  6. The Electronics
  7. X-Axis, Part 1
  8. X-Axis, Part 2
  9. X-Axis, Part 3
  10. Y-Axis, Part 1
  11. Y-Axis, Part 2
  12. Y-Axis, Part 3
  13. Preparing for the Z-Axis
  14. Z-Axis, Part 1
  15. Z-Axis, Part 2
  16. Z-Axis, Part 3
  17. Mounting the Electronics
  18. Software and Testing
  19. Where to Go from Here

Click Here For More Information on 3D Printing

MIT's Robot-Fabricating 3D Printer

Photo By Jason Dorfman, CSAIL/MIT

You don’t get much more Future Now than this: a 3D printer that prototypes and fabricates specialized robots within hours. Developed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) thanks to a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the CSAIL Project aims to democratize the design and production of robots generations beyond what is possible with off-the-shelf parts or hackable kits like LEGO’s Mindstorm. Following current trends in robot design, the prototypes CSAIL demonstrates in this video look far more arachnid than Robbie the Robot: these aren’t automatons that will make your grandmother a cup of tea, but they are impressive, sophisticated machines coming from a device that may be common in hacker- and makerspaces within a few years.