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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
  Not quite up to Star Trek Replicator standards, but damn close and exciting to boot.
Wired 13.09: The Dream Factory: "After a week of experimentation, I settle upon my favorite - a curvy, amoeba-like adaptation of a Flying V guitar. I had originally hoped to have it cut out of pine, like a normal guitar body, but when I explore the options for materials, I find that eMachineShop doesn't stock wood thick enough. The software offers me several possibilities, and each time I swap in a new material, it reprices the entire job, down to the penny. In the end, I opt to have a 3-D milling machine carve my design out of a single block of clear acrylic, with unbuffed raw aluminum for the faceplate. A guitar made of metal and Lucite: This is going to look like something beamed down from a UFO. It'll cost $880 for the two parts and take about a week to make them. Then all I have to do is snap them together and bolt on the neck, bridge, and a few electric components.

At 2 in the morning on a Tuesday, I finally hit the Place Order button. My design shoots off to Lewis' farm of roboticized fabrication machines.

I've just printed a guitar.

MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld calls it the fab revolution - every bit as important as the invention of the personal computer, he says. Cyberspace and PCs made bits flexible; fabrication technology is doing the same thing to atoms. Eventually, he claims, you won't even need a middleman like eMachineShop, because every house will have its own personal fabricator."
 
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