As someone who's always been into building things and understanding how things work, in recent years I've naturally been pulled towards the 3D printing space. The idea of being able to manufacture your own components (either replacement parts for things that have broken, or new things that you've designed) really gives you limitless possibilities.
My first exposure to 3D printing came in early 2013 when I was working on the design and first tests of a tracked robot I designed to take timelapse sequences with a DSLR camera. As I searched for appropriate pulleys for the drive mechanism (to no avail), I ended up commissioning those parts to be 3D printed—purpose built, one-off components, for a unique and specific need.
Several months later in April of 2013, I came across a Kickstarter campaign for the RigidBot—a 3D printer designed by a company in Utah called InventAPart. As I've posted on other occasions, I'm a huge supporter of Kickstarter and the entrepreneurial spirit that it empowers. I've been a part of many smoothly and successfully delivered campaigns on Kickstarter both before, and since the RigidBot.
During the course of the RigidBot campaign many positive and negative things happened, but for a product that was delivered 18 months after backing (and some 10 months later than promised) there was some understandable tension between InventAPart and the backers that funded the campaign.
In an effort to offer a less-critical and more professional review of InventAPart and the RigidBot, I opted to wait until the printer arrived to do any writing; hence why these articles aren't being published until August 2014. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, I'll be doing a full write up on the RigidBot, pros and cons, constructive criticism of the InventAPart team, and test prints from the RigidBot.