Every other year, the International Manufacturing Technology Show descends on Chicago and serves as an exhaustive amusement park for 130,000 people from across the manufacturing sector. Giant exhibit halls feature bus-sized machining centers, arcane workholding clamps, novel collets, and every type of 3D printer imaginable.
This week the Digital Factory Podcast presents a series of interviews with three people from different backgrounds who reflect on what they saw at IMTS in September 2018 and what they’re thinking about the future of prototyping and manufacturing.
Spencer Wright publishes The Prepared, a newsletter and podcast about fabrication, and runs partnerships and integrations at nTopology. (You might remember him from his previous appearance on this podcast.
From Spencer’s conversation:
- David Foster Wallace’s essay on the Illinois State Fair
- Velo 3D
- MT Connect
- Georg Fischer has teamed with 3D Systems to develop an automated additive factory
- Spencer’s favorite tools (this month): Wera Tool-Check plus driver set and the Wera 7000A torque wrench
Zach Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Inventables, which makes X-Carve and Carvey, accessible CNC routers used by a wide variety of creators. In our discussion Zach reflects on bottom-up transformation of manufacturing by putting tools into more hands.
From Zach’s conversation:
- Why you need to do your own prototyping: “If you were a computer programmer and you had to send your code to someone else to run it, that would be crazy.”
- Self-publishing platforms have caused the number of book titles published annually to explode
- Easel, the browser-based CAD/CAM software that runs Inventables’ CNC routers
- Zach’s favorite tool: a pair of notebooks, one for taking notes and the other divided into columns for tracking people and tasks
Elizabeth Koprucki is the Assistant Director of Fab Lab and Design at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In our conversation she reflects on the value of making tools directly accessible to people who have new ideas.
From Elizabeth’s conversation:
- International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces, Construct3D Conference
- Universities competing by building innovation centers and makerspaces
- Elizabeth’s favorite tools: desktop CNC routers (like the ones Zach describes), and Lindstrom RX ergonomic needle-nose pliers