Write by Maxigas
Lately we won a 3D printer from Aleph Objects. We asked it for printing labyrinths for slime moulds in order to make a biological computer (on the wild side), and to make connectors for bio-construction using canes (on the practical side). Indeed, we started printing experimental connectors and also spare parts for broken equipment of the biolab.
According to reviews, LulzBot TAZ is really really free software and free hardware, with the approval of the Free Software Foundation, and it really really works too. Plus, has the biggest size printing surface of all open source printers on the market. I’ve put it together with my 14 year old cousin and after some calibration we managed to print the reference octopus in the same quality as the one that came with the printer – good job! After printing some tests we moved on to solving real world problems.
Our biggest success so far was knobs for a gas cooker. We made measurements and produced two 3D models in Blender and FreeCAD, one of which printed nicely and after some grating fitted nicely on the gas cooker. The cooker is part of the infrastructure for a productive project in Calafou: making jams – so it is constantly in use. This is much easier now and the new knobs allowed us to use a ring which was so far disfunctional. So it really counts.
The experience showed that the use cases for 3D printers are much more varied and relevant in Calafou than in the urban hackerspaces of the white middle class, where they often fall in the hands of bored geeks or utopian entrepreneurs. In the middle of the forest, amidst industrial ruins, where we are trying to build post-capitalist eco-industries, there are many more real world problems to solve. When we get a good grip of them, and with them of the technology at hand, we can move on to visionary research like building a biological computer from slime molds.
PS: somebody bring us some aceton to clean the printing pad, or tell us what to do for ensuring first layer adhesion! :)
Grabación y montaje: Luciana Rodríguez
Música: 'Fiebre' by Pechblenda