Maker Faire 2012 New York - Attack of The 3D Printer Bots

We headed down to Maker Faire 2012 in New York this weekend to check out the expo's massive spread of engineering awesomeness and creativity in the fields of robotics, electronics, computing and much more.  When you arrive at the fair, the first thing that strikes you is how completely organic the whole scene is.  Inventors, creators, engineers and entrepreneurs from all walks of life have their gadgets, science projects, creations and wares on display for all to see. Some of the creations you see on display range from downright amazing to completely bizarre.

One of the big attractions, a technology area that has experienced explosive growth recently, is the land of 3D Printing.  MakerBot took the open source RepRap 3D replicator project mainstream back in 2009 with the release of the Cup Cake CNC machine, then came the Thing-o-Matic and then a little bot called Replicator.  With each iteration, improvements in process and technology are bringing better, more capable 3D printers to market, from MakerBot's new Replicator 2, to new machines and technologies in the field from Solidoodle, Up!3D, Ultimaker, and Tinkerines

MakerBot's Replicator 2 is a proprietary design, a first for the company and a first in a field that historically established its roots in a passionate, collaborative open source community model.  Most commercially available 3D printers today are delivered unassembled and as such, modifications and improvements can be introduced easily, spurring new designs, features and capabilities.

To watch a 3D printer in action is like witnessing art, science and engineering all working together in glorious unison.  And regardless of your geek status or lack thereof, the objects you can design and build with one of these machines will blow you away.  Watch...

MakerBot's Replicator 2

The Netherlands-based Ultimaker

Ultimaker 3D Model Results

UP! 3D Mini Printers and  Model Products

Solidoodle 2 (left) - Tinkerine Ditto Acrylic (right)

Certainly one of the highlights of the "3D Printer Village" at Maker Faire 2012, was MakerBot's Replicator 2 machine but systems like the Ultimaker, Tinkerine's Ditto, and Up! 3D's Mini were also very impressive, rivaling the precision (100 micron/1mm or less tolerances) ease of use and speed of the new MakerBot machine. 

As you can see, some of the models being built at the event were absolutely amazing.  Ultimaker's human statue models were especially stunning, with intricate detail previously only produced by sculptors and artists manually.  Some of the mechanical structures like gears and other types of machinery just wowed us as feats of engineering marvel.

We're going to be watching this space closely in the months ahead and may even coordinate a "3D Printer Round-up" of sorts.  Stick around!