Thursday, October 09, 2014

Roll-forming with paper

As I have noted before, I used to be a sheet metal worker. During my time as a sheet metal worker, I had up-close and personal experience with roll-forming machines. Roll-forming machines have rollers connected to powerful electric motors that pull metal in flat and with rollers pressed together on both sides, shaped the metal in the desired form to make seams and joints in the metal. Through several processes, flat metal sheets are turned into pieces that can be knocked together with a hammer to create duct work.

Here is an example:

That was a part of my life for about ten years. I learned so much during that time, and I got to keep all of my fingers.

So fast forward 20 years. Now we have 3D printers. People are getting creative with them. They're building very interesting, somewhat useless stuff. Like this:

I find it utterly fascinating that someone took the time and effort to design, build and test such a machine. On top of that, the plans for such machines can be shared and improved upon. It's all 3D modeling and a 3D printer like this one:

This is a revolution in the making. Remember when the first laser printers came out? That was a revolution all by itself. This is going to be much bigger, and we're just getting started.

I guess the only real question left is: what are we going to do with this stuff when we're done?
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