Everybody Gets a Factory: What It Takes to Make Pretty Much Everything

I’m setting my sights high here. Right now, all I really know is how to 3D print stuff - and I just started learning that a month ago. All I really want to do is set up a repository where I can describe some of the very basic aspects of what I’ve learned with my little Qidi Tech I (like how to level the bed, or how fast to print flexible filament). So, why pick such a grandiose goal?

The reason I’m aiming so high with the overall scope of this is that I keep finding all these little bits and pieces of good advice, scattered here and there, and they’re all opinionated, and don’t seem to have taken other knowledge or opinions into account. What I really want is a crash course in materials engineering for anything an individual could personally need (another way to put it might be “anything smaller than a house”, though I’m thinking more on the scale of anything-smaller-than-a-microwave-oven: you know, gadgetry and the like).

There are “introductory” works out there - you know, “3D Printing for Beginners” and crap like that - but I’m not interested in “for beginners”. People who don’t consider themselves “beginners” stand to gain just as much as those who are from a comprehensive exploration of the field.

To get there, I don’t just want to know and write about 3D printing. I want to cover silicon wafer printing, and CNC milling, and basically everything that can currently be automated in small-scale production - along with everything that currently isn’t (like sewing), and why it hasn’t (from what I’ve read, handling flowing fabric is too hard for contemporary robotics).

In a Nutshell

This is basically a little place where I want to lay out my current understanding of the state of the art in personal fabrication, and what it’d take to advance it (both technologically and politically).

Key point

The focus of what’s described here is SACRED: how to make it so your thing is based primarily in digital content that can be easily reproduced and all.


This is very much designed to be like a “How to Invent Everything” for the modern world

This next part is written based on my thoughts while reading through Jo Prusa’s Basics of 3D Printing (linked from here - I recommend signing up for the newsletter)

Jumping in to the “3D Manufacturing” stuff

There are, generally speaking, two kinds of 3D printing: Additive manufacturing, and subtractive manufacturing.

Subtractive manufacturing is when you have a big block of something, and then you take stuff away until it’s the thing you want. CNC milling was the original for this.

Additive manufacturing is when you put stuff on to something until it’s the model you want. FFF and resin printing



TODO: Open-Source SFM

Farther out from 3D printing

See also