The PopFab is a high-tech tool in a briefcase
Building things today involves a whole set of mechanized tools. CNC millers. Plastic extruders. 3D printers. So what if you could cram all of those tools into a briefcase? Which is exactly what some MIT students just did?
The video is just them making a plastic fish. But the implications of this device go way beyond being able to turn out Happy Meal toys at a moment’s notice.
For example, this can fit in an apartment, so if, say, your spatula breaks, you can just print out a new one. Want to make a precision tool for a specific task? Just print it, or maybe mill it out of a tougher piece of material if you need something stronger.
The travel implications are huge. Imagine a first-aid kit where you literally print out custom bandages that fit perfectly. Or bringing one of these things camping and using it to turn out tools.
There’s a lot of work to go on this: it needs an external laptop to work, for example. But it offers a hint about a useful multitool that will soon be sitting in all of our toolkits.
PopFab Episode 1 [Vimeo]