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3D printed bracelet of the future

3D Printing & Imaging


Will Langford made this 3D printed bracelet with his MakerBot and some felt. Print your own, or grab one from his Etsy shop. I’m printing one right now out of my new PLA plastic!

30 thoughts on “3D printed bracelet of the future

  1. Stunmonkey says:

    I hate to pee in peoples cornflakes, but what is the fascination with printable items lately?

    I know it gives the appearance of people being able to create things for themselves, affordably and in their homes, but the fact is you are just as empowered to create things as ever, and always were.
    This design of bracelet could have been made well, and out of a mind-numbingly large variety of materials, with simple hand tools at home much quicker than even programming this in the first place. Copper, Aluminum, wood, even black and white thermoplastic sheet, you name it. Any of them would have been better, quicker and cheaper. The only thing I see here is a really questionable plastic doodad of poor surface finish that took WAY too much effort and equipment to make.

    Get some confidence, pick up a tool and actually build! You can do it. Really. You don’t need cheap party tricks like an extruderbot to use as a crutch.
    I know it seems to make makes impossible sounding things possible to make, but they are just a poor simulacrum.

    You have to learn that is you, not it, that had that power all along.

    Stop using it to insulate yourselves from what you make, as you can really only use it to play at really making. Get out there and ACTUALLY make.

    1. Rob says:

      I get what you’re saying Stun. Coming from a hardcore electronics project background, I often get frustrated with the hipster/artsy/steampunk projects that are posted on here. But I’ve learned to take Make for what it is. I don’t think it’s intended to be a “solder this cool circuit” website. I’ve seen it transition more to “it’s cool and hip to make stuff” themed instead of “the 555 timer is amazingly versatile” themed.

      1. oskay says:

        At least half of Make has always been “Hey look at this neat thing somebody made!” I *love* that kind of stuff– can’t get enough of it.

        So long as Make reports about what neat stuff people are making, then it will necessarily catalog what’s trendy at any given moment in time. I’ve seen people get grumpy about too much Arduino, too much steampunk, too much laser cutting, too much makerbot, and too much of almost everything else too. But if that’s what folks are making, then I’m glad that Make is blogging about it.

        In the last 24 hours, there have been articles about video game modding, avr microcontrollers, embroidery, art, biofeedback, music, remote controls, Google ads, hiding things, DNA extraction, storage for electronics, rocket motors, robotics, and a DIY lathe.

        On January 13 2006, Make covered crochet, time lapse photos, sonic fabric, a haptic scarf, iPod hacks, Google mobile, DIY motors, Verizon hacking, motherboard upgrades, and a scanner.

        So… If there’s a hipster takeover afoot, I’m not seeing it. Though, you may want to make a mental note to go back to 2006 and complain about the number of e-textile articles.

        1. Becky Stern says:

          Thanks, Windell, you always make me smile! And you’ll read the e-textile articles and like them, dangit! =D

        2. Rob says:

          You make valid points. And to give Make credit, they haven’t posted a bent circuit in about 48 hours. But just to touch on the hipster-ization of Make, allow me to point out stories in the past 24 hours alone:

          Printed Jewelry
          “Vintage” Ad circa 1981
          Gloves with a badge sown on them
          “Vintage” cartoon art show

          So yeah, there’s something for everyone, but I personally do see that Make is often invaded with “fluff” hipster projects.

          I will say though, Kip Kay never lets me down.

          1. Becky Stern says:

            Kip makes videos of the projects in the magazine, many of which get a spark on the blog first, before becoming longer form articles. We’re glad you like them!

    2. Phlamingo says:

      If you are looking for a purely practical reason to use or own a personal fabber, 3D printer, or desktop CNC machine, you won’t find many. Oh, a few lucky souls can justify a CNC machine for circuit board prototyping, or something similar, but that’s not really the point.

      And, seriously most of the people who have one of these machines are capable of hand-building the majority of what they are used to make. But, again, that’s not really the point.

      At least some of us are excited, nay, giddy, about these machines because of the future that they are foreshadowing.

      A future when I can look up the part number of my broken microwave oven door handle, search for a file that describes its shape, and have it fabbed in my own garage, rather than spend $12 on shipping for a $1.95 part.

      A future when it becomes common to repair the dozens of small devices that most people throw out every year because it’s currently cheaper to replace than repair.

      A future when we are not captive to factories of dubious humanity and ethical virtue in Asia.

      A future when custom device becomes the norm.

      What will the economic impact of this revolution be? I don’t know, but I’m sure it will be profound, I suspect it will sneak up on most of the world while they aren’t paying attention, and I am hopeful that, in the end, it will be better for most of the people, in most places, most of the time.

      1. Lenore says:

        Funny you should mention fixing the microwave. Our microwave door opening button was melted beyond usability many years ago. We used an old blue RIT dyed wooden spoon to pop open the door spring (you stick the spoon handle in the hole the button used to be in) for a very long time.

        Then we got a laser cutter! I cut a new plastic button that fit over a short piece of the old wooden spoon handle to trigger the spring. Works great, doesn’t have to be stored on top of the microwave, doesn’t require explanation for guests using the microwave (“um, yeah, use that wooden spoon to open the door”, or “where’d you put the wooden spoon that was on top of the microwave?”) and it looks great, too! I didn’t add a return catch, so sometimes it pops out onto the counter, but it is soooo much better now.

        That future you’re talking about is now.

  2. Maha says:

    The appeal is that the design for the item can be easily shared and almost anyone can build it with a printer. Also i think your remark about it taking way too much equipment is off a bit. People who make things out of raw materials usually have a shop full of tools. It would be unfair to call 3d printing “too much” when it is just another bench tool in most people’s shop.

    Handmade crafts will always be higher quality though, right? I think the big part about the 3d printing is being able to share the source, not the quality of the product.

    1. Stunmonkey says:

      I see what you are saying, and while many of us (including me) do indeed have rapid prototyping equipment as “just another bench tool” in our shop. A valuable one, too, but many don’t look at it that way.
      In my experience, people are quite often mistakenly looking at these extruders as a way to AVOID having other tools and skills, or even a bench for that matter. They look at it as one-size-fits-all replacement to having to learn, have tools, or a shop. These machines are an adjunct to real tools, not a replacement for all of them.

      Of course, the hipsters love ’em – all the rep and street cred, none of the mess and work – sort of a dilettante “maker lite”. They usually are quite pompous about it, too, which annoys to no end…

      1. Phlamingo says:

        That’s what I get for letting my comment sit for a while to be sure I wasn’t being too snide. I now have a comment that is completely out of step with the thrust of the discussion.

        On the other hand, in the future, as quality improves, many people may have some kind of “prototyping machine” sitting in the garage next to the Mr. Fusion :-)

        Will that be a bad thing?

  3. Becky Stern says:

    Thanks for the awesome dialog going on here, guys. I certainly see both sides of it, but agree most of all with Maha’s point that the appeal is in the source file that can be shared and easily replicated. I love making things from raw materials too, especially jewelry, so for me this is just another creative outlet and a way to get excited about making things and sharing them. And make no mistake: using and maintaining a MakerBot is not for the faint of heart!

  4. jammit says:

    I have an idea. Print half of the object and stop. Put an electronic thing in it, and then finish printing. It’d protect the electronics and make a container at the same time.

    1. Becky Stern says:

      Yeah, that sounds good!

  5. Gareth Branwyn says:

    I think Windell nails it about Make: Online. Thanks!

    And I don’t see desktop fabbing machines putting makers out of work anytime soon.

    And I think it’s so strange when people say: “MAKE used to be this, now it’s that.” Like during one flame war when people were saying: “The magazine doesn’t have many projects, anymore. It’s being taken over by boring columns, with people like… Cory Doctorow!” In point of fact, we have just as many projects as we did in the beginning, we actually decided to have some columns become irregular, to make space for more how-to content, and Cory has been in every issue since Volume 1. (I think people have gotten used to MAKE and the maker movement, remember fondly their initial discoveries and sense of excitement, and now think everything has dimmed by comparison.)

    And on the site, we have more original content than we ever have, regular, weekly columns, weekly long-form projects (a la the featured projects in the magazine), more video content.

    In terms of a trendy/hipster take-over, as Windell said, we cover what makers are excited about, and we cover a wide range of making. What you don’t see are the emails and comments we get where one person says: “Too much electronics, you’re turning into an electronics site!” And then that’s followed by someone saying: “You don’t have enough electronics anymore! You used to cover more electronics, now you cover all sorts of useless crap nobody cares about.”

    As long as we’re a GENERAL INTEREST maker/DIY/hacker magazine and site, there’s going to be a certain amount of content that non-generalist makers are not going to be interested in. Hopefully, you’re generous enough to realize that other people have other interests than yours and we’re trying to serve both you AND them.

    Oh, and in terms of 3D printing, CNC, and the like, look for A LOT more of it in the coming few weeks as we roll out our “Your Desktop Factory” issue of MAKE (Vol 21). But don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of other content here, too.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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