Personal Manufacturing Machines

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See: Personal Manufacturing

Typology of Personal Manufacturing Machines

Desktop 3D Printers

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman:

"3D printers use as an additive process, meaning they make objects by systematically depositing a chosen raw material in layers. Somewhat similar in concept to that of an inkjet printer that orchestrates different colored print cartridges to form an image onto paper, the most common household 3D printing process involves a “print head” that works with any material that can be extruded, or squirted through a nozzle. Another common type of 3D printer uses a laser beam or glue to selectively fuse powdered plastic, metal, or ceramic raw material in layers." (

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Desktop CNC Routing and Milling Machines

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman:

"more established than 3D printers are desktop-sized numerically controlled (CNC) routing and milling machines. These machines use a physical blade to cut and carve precise designs into a broad range of materials. Under the guidance of an electronic design blueprint, a rotating mill bit, sometimes called a cutter, is spun along by a motor called a router or spindle. As the electronic blueprint guides the cutter along x, y and z coordinates, the cutting tool makes multiple passes over the material to create perfectly carved engravings or shapes." (

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Desktop Laser Cutters and Engravers

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman:

"laser cutters and engravers use intense, focused beams of light to cut out shapes and engrave images onto a wide variety of materials. Laser machines can produce images, text or designs in an amazing level of detail and precision. Laser cutters are versatile and can cut a range of materials from wood to plastics to leather, and can etch or engrave metals, glass and ceramics. Their versatility, speed and precision make them ideal machines for small businesses to create design prototypes and customized consumer products. Beyond engraving, one of the most common uses of home-scale laser cutters is to precisely cut parts out of a sheet of acrylic or wood. These parts can be assembled by hand into complex, 3D products." (

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Desktop Sewing and Embroidering Machines

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman:

"Automated, personal-scale embroidery machines are already available in mainstream stores such as JoAnn Fabrics." (

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Desktop Circuit Makers

Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman:


at-home manufacture of circuit boards is a rapidly emerging application for hobbyists and electronic designers.

Desktop circuit makers offer a clean alternative to traditional chemical-based processes, making them an appropriate tool for the classroom, lab or home." (

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