Critical Section


coding with atoms

Saturday,  10/18/14  12:52 AM

3D-printed Tesla console

The awesome thing about 3D printers is that they let you code with atoms.

The other day I was talking to a colleague who started his career as a coder, switched for a while to patent law (!), and is now back coding.  And we agreed the great and wonderful thing about coding is that you can create anything.  You just sit down at your keyboard and start typing, and a few [well okay many many] hours later, poof! you have created something that never was before.  That's pretty awesome.

So one of the things I love doing is messing around with my little 3D printer (I have a Makerbot Replicator 2, they're great).  And it occurred to me, that the reason 3D printers are soo cool is that they let you be coder-creative, but with atoms instead of bits!  You sit down at your keyboard and start typing, and a few [well okay many many] hours later, poof! you have created something that never was before, but it is a tangible object you can touch and feel and play with and even (gasp!) use. 

I've created lots of cool things, but my favorite so far is a center console for my car.  It was designed from scratch using an amazing free cloud-based tool called Tinkercad.  Every time I use it - basically every time I drive anywhere - I love it; not only that it gives me a good place to put my coffee and my keys and my phone, but that I created it myself.  Excellent!

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