Some news from the Fab Lab Community
With ten 3D printers and a robotic attendant, this automated fab lab doesn’t need any human help
One of the big issues with 3D printing farms is that, in order to achieve large batches of product, you need to have a large number of printers working together in unison. Particularly if you’re a one or two-person team in the “maker” community, that comes with definite challenges.
“The wife of one of my friends runs a 3D printing company, printing cookie-cutters for Etsy,” Mark Silliman, one of the co-founders of Oregon-based startup Tend.ai, tells Digital Trends. “I used to watch her run to the garage, where she kept her printers, every five minutes throughout the day — just in order to keep up with demand. I thought that there had to be a better way.”
Like any entrepreneur worth his salt, Silliman thought that “better way” could have the makings of a company. Together with two collaborators, Robert Kieffer and James Gentes, they created a cloud robotics company (“Your hardware, our software”), able to train collaborative robots to carry out complex multitasking — such as operating an entire 3D printer farm without the need for much in the way of human intervention.