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Make: Asks is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: What dream tool could you imagine that would complete your workshop?

Ever since I saw the MakerBot Replicator I knew I wanted one. This device would definitely be in the “dream tool” category for me.

Post your responses in the comments section.

Michael Colombo

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


  • Tim Dolan

    Would love to have a power hammer for knife making

  • http://gravatar.com/mysticx401 MysticX

    Something that can put tiny screws and ribbon cables back into place. I seem almost incapable of doing so and it could save many agonizing minutes fiddling with poorly designed products.

  • http://gravatar.com/mupeg Sean

    Tie between CNC plasma cutter and TIG welder…you can’t really have one without the other.

  • Lou G

    I just want a shop for my tools, the wife’s getting tired of smashing her toe on the bandsaw every time she needs to get in the fridge. After that, a shopbot would be nice.

  • http://www.homeinephrata.com Joshua Brown

    A Laser CNC and/or a MakerBot

  • http://www.facebook.com/japharl Zak Zebrowski

    A clean workspace. :)

  • chuck

    I just got a plasma cutter and a huge compressor to run it which has been my dream tool for a while now. If only it would stop raining so I can go out and play with it…
    My next dream tool is a CNC table with swappable heads so I can run a plasma cutter, router, laser, etc. To cut everything on one tool would be awesome!
    I’d also love a 3d printer and scanner.
    And a good lab scale.
    And some oxyacetylene torches.
    And an empty shipping container for more space.
    And one of those 3 axis milling machines.
    Etc. etc.
    The problem is no tool will ever make my shop complete. The ideal shop knows no event horizon, it’s all approach. A tool doesn’t just do things, it helps you explore and learn stuff, too. As you learn more you need more tools which leads to more knowledge and even more tools in a vicious cycle. I can live with that.
    My work is my play, my tools are my toys, and whoever dies with the biggest selection of hammers wins.

    • http://rubbertreeplant.co.uk NKT

      This. A thousand times, this.
      And so far, I’m winnning. ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/unclebeeg Craig Paxton

    A 3-D printer would be a hoot!

  • http://gravatar.com/rmadams001 R. Mark Adams

    A laser cutter or a 4×8 ShopBot! You said to dream right? I am dreaming big!

  • http://www.facebook.com/PelicanFeathers Tommy Phillips

    The ultimate dream tool: time to spend in the shop.

    • suecanrush

      You nailed it for me – I could live with the tools I have, if only I had the time to use them, and I don’t have many!

  • Ivan Hazelton

    A very large uncontentious space. One that is large enough to work on projects; properly store all the tools and parts. One that is not directly attached to the house and also is not the garage (see uncontentious space, above). AKA a “Man Cave”

  • http://yourwritereditor.com William Abernathy

    Santa, please bring: a Rockwell vertical mill or a shop ceiling tall enough to take a Bridgeport. A robust midsize lathe. A smallish CNC mill. An Atlas horizontal mill.

  • NeXT-Generation

    Real-life dream tool: A fully stocked workshop, with the works. CNC, 3d-printer, saws, components, etc.

    Dream dream tool: An infinite storage cube.

  • http://flyingcolorsatelier.wordpress.com dmccauley

    hamster powered circular saw

  • http://twitter.com/rjnerd Jeff Del Papa (@rjnerd)

    A dry, climate controlled space of at least 5,000 sq/ft. At least 12 foot ceilings, 3 phase power, and both ground level and loading dock height access. Then one of those rolling shelf storage systems (shelves on tracks, so you can move which shelf has the aisle)

    For real tools, a significant upgrade to my current mill, with a bigger table, variable speed head, CNC with the option of manual control. (basically electronic hand wheels).

    Add another lathe, one that can swing at least 18″. (9 inch center height in brit parlance) 24″ preferred. And up the various welders to 300 amp 50% duty cycle supplies (both cc and cv)

    • Heph

      I have seen Rolling shelves with robots somewhere. These shelves where lifted and moved by a big roomba like Robot. The idea behind that was iirc. that you dont have to stop working while the next materials get shuttled to you.

  • Karel K

    For me a dreamtool would be a CNC/3D printer combination, which is easy enough to handle so my daughter and son (now 2.5 and 0.5 years old – just thinking ahead) can be creative with it as well. I’m building the tool now – part of the dream is designing and making it myself :-)

  • Heph

    I would go with a 5+ Axis robot arm with swap-able tools, thus laser/plasmacutter, mill, Airbrush etc. Something that can work with parts that are 2x2x2 Meters (say a block of styrofoam).

    • Heph

      for everyone who wonders why: It would be for negatives for vacuum-forming, casting or base form for stuff made from Resin/glassfiber composit.

  • len cullum

    I dream of a robot that would sharpen my planes and chisels using the sampled motions of a master sharpener. It would use every millimeter of the sharpening stones surface so they would never need flattening. And maybe when it wasn’t sharpening it could empty the dust collector and compress the dust into fireplace logs or pellets. And it should laugh at my jokes and be voiced by Kevin Spacey (GERTY).

    Ooh, and one of these – http://youtu.be/ZbZOfOu8lgg

  • http://pcloudservices.wordpress.com mpechner

    One tool. 24×7 Tech shop with no waiting! Yup that is my mega tool.

  • http://jamesrpatrick.com JamesRPatrick

    CNC Mill/Lathe combo.

  • Greg

    A universal screwdriver. Wworking for every screws ….

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