At Tormach, we find ourselves visiting a lot of different trade shows since we touch people in so many different areas – from education to makers to heavy industry – and last week was no different.
For obvious reasons, we're pretty well-versed when it comes to machining here at Tormach. But throughout our company - in several different departments - we also have an array of makers. We've seen Tormach employees create everything from horseshoe lamps to remaking wedding rings to DIY 3D printers.
We’re all makers. Everybody that has touched, or been inspired to use, a CNC machine is a maker, and the community is growing. By the end of summer 2016, Tormach will have attended at least four Maker Faires around the U.S., and there are other Tormach enthusiasts that are involved other Maker Faires around the world. But now, making is finally starting to go mainstream. TBS is hosting their second season of America’s Greatest Makers, which features a Shark Tank-like atmosphere where makers look to take their ideas from concepts to products. The show has an open casting call for anybody interested in making their dream-project a reality. We’d love to live vicariously through a Tormach owner's TV moment. [youtube]nbpujdXbLzI[/youtube] [youtube]f0i_ClXCd1A[/youtube]
Last week, we had a visit from the Milwaukee Maker Space, which is just a short drive down the Interstate. And the week before, folks from a Madison, WI makerspace, known as The Bodgery, joined us for a product demo. Last fall, another Madison makerspace, Sector 67, got a PCNC 1100 for their growing shop. At Tormach, we’ve always had an affection for makers. We’ve witnessed, first-hand, how the world of making and tinkering has helped to usher STEM/STEAM movement and how making and educating have continued to evolve. Educators are becoming makerspace owners/organizers, and makers are becoming teachers, and as a machine tool-maker, we couldn’t be more excited
We welcomed our new PCNC 440 into the world last week, and then immediately hit the road to get to World Maker Faire in New York. At Maker Faire, we were greeted with the usual entourage of amateur engineers, tinkerers, and inventors, but with two smaller machines that fit in the cramped (10’ x 10’) booth, jaws were dropping as chips were flying. We milled piles and piles of aluminum to make numerous Arduino enclosures for demonstration cuts, and passed them out to the eager crowd. Maker Faire is full of people that know their way around various tools, but are often unfamiliar (or vaguely familiar) with CNC. That’s why the PCNC 440 fits into the Maker crowd so well – size, price, and usability are all less intimidating than other machines with the same capabilities. [youtube]Ziw_x8BMlHw[/youtube] Now that the pre-sales are open, the PCNC 440 is already in high demand. In fact, a makerspace in New Jersey, known as The Maker Depot, was one of the first to snag a forthcoming 440. Michael Franchino, one of the owners of The Maker Depot, said, “We have been looking at a CNC mill for a while. We have a manual mill in our shop, but it takes someone with a lot of skill to be able to utilize it. I had been looking at the 1100 or 770, but with a limited budget it was just out of our reach. When I saw the 440, it seemed to be a perfect fit in both size and price.” While Franchino isn’t exactly sure what members will be doing with their new machine, “We are mentors for an FTC (FIRST Robotics) robotics team, and I am pretty sure we will have some uses for it to manufacture custom parts for the robot,” he explains. “We’re all very excited to be getting our machine soon!” Pre-order your PCNC 440 now to be one of the first to get your hands on new milling capabilities in a small space.
The maker movement is here. As the world of manufacturing is tipping toward smaller runs and more customized parts, legions of Makers have emerged to tinker, invent, engineer, and build things. The spectrum of what Makers make stretches from both incredibly useful to completely useless, but it can’t be denied that they are inventive and skilled. With the popularity of credit card-sized computers, like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, Makers have often been pigeon-holed into the arena of rudimentary electrical engineering and the vicinity. In fact, Makers are creating some of the most impressive new technologies, founding successful startups, and producing quality goods in their garages. MAKE Magazine defines the movement, saying, “Many makers are hobbyists, enthusiasts or students (amateurs!) – but they are also a wellspring of innovation, creating new products and producing value in the community. Some makers do become entrepreneurs and start companies.” Whether you’re a part of the trendsetting movement or not, every mill owner is a Maker. Even potential mill owners are Makers, as the want and drive to create a physical thing, beyond an idea, is what drives this movement. That’s why Tormach will be attending the 10th annual Maker Faire in San Francisco next week, showing our wares, cutting demo parts, and looking to inspire more Makers to use CNC milling as a tool (Booth #1340 in the Make:Labs Pavilion). The Maker Faire is a collection of Makers from around the world showing off their creations in a fanfare of nerdom. Think of Burning Man with far more engineering and math.