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3D printer
January 8, 2007 10:29 AM   Subscribe

CarveWright, a 3D wood carving machine made by former NASA robotics engineers. Demo video.
posted by stbalbach (26 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's pretty cool. I couldn't find the price, which is too bad. If it was cheap enough I could set up a whole business doing reproduction mouldings for home renovations with that thing. Home Depot doesn't carry stock that matches the stuff that was installed in my house a hundred years ago - and I'm not alone in my neighbourhood.
posted by GuyZero at 10:39 AM on January 8, 2007


The indigenous carvers around the world will have to come up with a new gig.
posted by mert at 10:39 AM on January 8, 2007


That's pretty awesome, it even has a probe to map 3-D object for copy. $1,900 for the base machine isn't to crazy either.
posted by twjordan at 10:39 AM on January 8, 2007


Craftsman has branded for about $1800 sold at Sears.
posted by stbalbach at 10:45 AM on January 8, 2007


It looks pretty, but reminds me of those repro'd paintings. Personally, I like to know that some blood and sweat and effort went into what i have. Then again, I'd probably buy something if i liked it enough for a cheap price.

Poor handcarvers everywhere...machines will replace us all.
posted by clovis at 10:58 AM on January 8, 2007


Logjammin'?
posted by interrobang at 11:00 AM on January 8, 2007


Who do they think is going to buy this?

14.5" lateral with 5" of depth, user supplied outboard support & feed mechanisms? Manual tool changes? Hmm...
posted by prostyle at 11:07 AM on January 8, 2007


I... I think I'm in love.
posted by boo_radley at 11:09 AM on January 8, 2007


If only my grandpa could have seen this.
posted by chillmost at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2007


Wow...that thing is sooooo fuckin' cool! I want one, too. I also want one that will work on stainless steel, but would settle for being able to make rapid prototypes in aluminum. Basically, I want the home version of eMachine Shop. The future is here, and it is surprisingly affordable.
posted by mosk at 11:34 AM on January 8, 2007


Worth noting: their software package is also available for Mac OS X. Nice.
posted by mosk at 11:44 AM on January 8, 2007


I've got wood. Seriously.
posted by hal9k at 11:47 AM on January 8, 2007


Woot. I'm with mosk -- well, stainless isn't that important to me, but if it could work aluminum and brass....
posted by eriko at 11:59 AM on January 8, 2007


Cool, but build your own for half (one-third? one-quarter?) the price!
posted by notyou at 12:42 PM on January 8, 2007


Well, all of the pictures are pretty low res, and even at low res, the output looks like crap.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 PM on January 8, 2007


Looks an awful lot like the Craftsman 21754 Compucarve...
posted by bluefrog at 12:47 PM on January 8, 2007


Ooops... missed stbalbach post.
posted by bluefrog at 12:49 PM on January 8, 2007


The machine's working by running raster lines across the piece. I wonder if the output gets the jaggies, or if it has sufficiently fine resolution that curved surfaces come out ok.
posted by felix at 12:53 PM on January 8, 2007


There are some folks on Sawmill Creek who have them. Reviews are mixed...some teething issues, apparently.
posted by maxwelton at 1:16 PM on January 8, 2007


Damn, that looks pretty cool.... As someone who enjoys woodcarving, I'm in two minds about it, but I guess it's like sewing your own clothes.

Sure I can buy a pair of pants cheaper than I might pay to make them, but the satisfaction is in taking the time to do it yourself. So yes, it might take me 8 hours to carve a relief piece when this machine will do it in 10 minutes, but the satisfaction of doing it is what makes a difference.

Still... I want one!!!
posted by tomble at 4:00 PM on January 8, 2007


I wonder if the output gets the jaggies

The FAQ says the more fine-grained the wood the better. My guess is it does splinter and get jagged on some wood.

In one of the forums someone posted how they used the scanner to scan in an antique chair back, then recreated it and sold it to an antique chair dealer - the profit from which paid for the machine from a single job that took 3 hours. I think this is the most powerful application, to re-create antique woodworking in restoring expensive antique furniture or molding.
posted by stbalbach at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2007


Wow, that thing is cool!
posted by nickyskye at 6:14 PM on January 8, 2007


In one of the forums someone posted how they used the scanner to scan in an antique chair back, then recreated it and sold it to an antique chair dealer - the profit from which paid for the machine from a single job that took 3 hours.

I see this machine doing interesting things to the antique business. The ability to have a set of six chairs that look exactly like, say, a Louis XV hand-carved dining chair (only made out of more sturdy wood) is going to appeal to a lot of people, in the same way having a poster of a famous painting appeals to people.

Once the reports of problems with the machines slow down, I might get one. Shouldn't be hard to run off these to sell at the markets as jewelry boxes etc. Design a box right and it all interlocks neatly without any need for glue or nails (although a varnish coat will both improve the look of the box and help it stick together).

Which raises another potential use of the machine - open-source interlocking toy construction. It wouldn't be hard to design some Lego-like pieces that will lock together fairly well if made out of the right plastic or wood. Once the basis is set out, other people can make their own pieces which will interlock with the system.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:41 PM on January 8, 2007


aeschenkarnos, interesting idea. Could also be used to make scale models of buildings, brick and stone facades etc. for train sets, doll houses, D&D miniatures. Toy and hobby shop there must be a lot of overlap.
posted by stbalbach at 9:47 PM on January 8, 2007


I think this thing is neat as a commodity-priced item, but it not like CNC hasn't been polluting "carved" items for years and years. Hell, before CNC there were all sorts of duplication machines that would do the same work. Its not like this is revolutionary past the fact that the Average Joe can go get one at Sears. With a 14" max width, .5" min depth, theres a whole lot of stuff you wouldn't be able to do. Yes, I know, glue it up or plane it, but there are plenty of applications where this isn't an option.

The fact that this is a third as expensive as a low-end CNC means folks who'd like one to fool around with it are probably more likely to do so and would perhaps fire up some innovation, but I think this is probably about as real-world invigorating as those sewing machines that do the embroidery for you: the average worker is going to have limited applications for this, the serious worker would have busied themselves up to something a bit more meaty already.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:47 PM on January 9, 2007


aeschenkarnos writes "The ability to have a set of six chairs that look exactly like, say, a Louis XV hand-carved dining chair (only made out of more sturdy wood) is going to appeal to a lot of people, in the same way having a poster of a famous painting appeals to people."

Be aware there is lots of hand carved stuff that can't be duplicated by machine due to the capabilty difference in a spinning bit vs a pushed chisel.

aeschenkarnos writes "open-source interlocking toy construction."

I'd love to set one of these making track sets for wooden track trains for children. The stuff is simple and very expensive.
posted by Mitheral at 10:48 AM on January 10, 2007


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