Every so often I find a web site that is a game changer for me. For example in the last couple years, sites like Kickstarter.com, Fasttech.com and Cheesycam.com have inspired me to build things that have enhanced my flyfishing, photography and dental professional skills.
Kickstarter is a wonderful mall of a site to explore some of the most innovative technology on the planet. Its a site where companys pitch ideas and get contributions for startups. In exchange for contributions, you are entitled to the first production units off the line. I bought a couple interesting products from Kickstart that I love. I bought my Doorbot and a my Pebble off of Kickstarter. A new competitor in this genre is Indiegogo.com.
Fasttech is a company in Hong Kong where you can get electronics parts, cables and accessories at dirt cheap prices. It Is a wonderful site for controller boards, cables, and brushless motors. Almost anything you need to build anything. Plus, you can buy batteries and camera parts for popular cameras at less than half the price.
Cheesycam.com is a great site for Videographers. Its a site that specializes in do it yourself videography equipment and also mixes in reviews of some of the most innovative, bang for the buck, hard to find stuff.
This week, I found another great site called Shapeways.com. Imagine designing a gadget, or a lure, or part of a fly, or a camera accessory and sending a 3d rendering of it to a company that manufactures it for you at an inexpensive price . Shapeways is a Dutch founded, New York based 3D printing marketplace and service, startup company. Users upload design files, and Shapeways prints the objects for them on high end 3D printers for a reasonable price. Users can have objects printed from a variety of materials–including plastic, stainless steel and food-safe ceramics. The company also serves as a marketplace for designers and has forums to collaborate on design. If you build something that someone else wants. You can go into business by marketing your product on their site and consumers can order your creation from their site with Shapeways handling the financial transaction, manufacturing (printing), distribution and customer service with the profits going to the designer. It is a wonderful site to browse. I recently bought some custom made landing gear for the Phantom Vision so that I could build a better pontoon system to float the quadcopter in water.
I am new to designing for 3D printers. Its been something I want to do, but have been waiting to purchase a printer. With services like Shapeways, I think I should learn the software first!. I think Ill start with google sketch and work up from that. Imagine making a fly reel out of Stainless Steel or your own surgical instruments or custom shaped composite instruments out of ceramic. We are a smidge closer to that Star Trek Replicator.