Nice artical, I'm glad to see such a "self help" idea......I have a brother that can perform in such a manner, but at last, it isn't too easy to get the parts from and the design process is about as long as a trip to Mars and lets not forget the price, of course the costs are about the price NASA shuttles........so happy that the new emachineshop is so user friendly, now maybe tooling can be passed around more. Thanks for the info Renderosity
And I thought that the Santa Claus machine was just a myth! This is a great thing to have if you need molds cut for vacu forming or doing prototype work. Still too rich for my pocket, but who knows, maybe the price will drop to user levels before long ( or replicators will come out and the whole issue will be moot!)
Actually, if you dig into the software a little deeper...their cost per part is not that bad, when you consider the front end savings (Engineering/Design at <$65/hr)if you are thinking of getting them to make "widget" parts for you (repeat orders) you save per part on bulk orders (100parts) and also you can play around in minutes with things like finishing, size, material, number of machines used, packaging, etc to try to cut the costs even more...and you don't have to resubmit quote drawings over and over with those cost reduction changes like a tradional shop...the software gives you the pricing info in seconds after you make those changes...I think it's an engineering concept that's way overdue.
Interesting... I've wondered about getting prototypes or "masters" for game components, and this might be an avenue to approach. I'm also wondering about those new "3D Printers" that have come out, and am hoping for a simple (and inexpensive) service. My guess is that we're still a year or two away from someone offering a CafePress-type solution for solid 3D objects.