What in the world is this?
October 8, 2009 12:50 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know what this beige, squarish thing is supposed to be? What's it used for?

Anyone know? Very curious thing... Thanks in advance!
posted by Theloupgarou to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How big is it? I'm not getting a sense of scale.
posted by rocket88 at 12:52 PM on October 8, 2009

It looks to me like someone was practicing with a mill.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:54 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Where did you find it? It sort of looks like a negative mold (like, the kind you pour metal into to make a positive shape) or the product of a rapid-prototype machine. Or a prototype mold. Is it two separate halves or does it look whole?
posted by muddgirl at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2009

Response by poster: It's from this presentation (slide 10) about Free by Chris Anderson of Wired.

@rocket88: don't know what size.
posted by Theloupgarou at 1:02 PM on October 8, 2009

To me, it looks like a piece of 2 by 4 that has been milled. Given the fineness of the curves, I would say it was a computer controlled mill.
posted by procrastination at 1:04 PM on October 8, 2009

That is output from a 3D printer. It looks like it could be some kind of valve body or manifold. While trivial for a 3D printer, this kind of thing is extremely difficult to produce by conventional means. It looks pretty small.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 1:09 PM on October 8, 2009

Either milled or churned-out from a stereolithography machine.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:11 PM on October 8, 2009

We do architecture models the same way. Typically, this is a one piece fabrication. Also, it makes sense in the context of the presentation (free complexity).
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 1:12 PM on October 8, 2009

As for what it is...It looks to be a model of some sort of complex fluid valve system (similar to the internals of an automatic transmission.)
posted by Thorzdad at 1:13 PM on October 8, 2009

Yeah, it's hard to tell if the grain in the material is natural or caused by a 3d plotter/rapid-prototyper. If it's the latter, I'd hate to be the poor tech who has to knock out all the stabilizing material.
posted by muddgirl at 1:14 PM on October 8, 2009

There's probably another side too, that it mates to. Or they turned off the 3d printer halfway through.
posted by smackfu at 1:28 PM on October 8, 2009

It looks like one of those ballbearing games where you have to tilt it to go through the right system of holes.
posted by CharlesV42 at 1:34 PM on October 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

That hexagonal hole in the center screams "Put metal insert here!" I think Thorzdad is not terribly far from the mark.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:44 PM on October 8, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah! It is the output from a 3D printer. I gooogled some more and found this video of Chris Anderson giving that presentation and he confirms it.

Thanks all! That is interesting to know more about.
posted by Theloupgarou at 1:45 PM on October 8, 2009

Here's a similar presentation, using several of the same slides. This says the title for slide #13 (same slide as #10 above) is "Cost to stream a movie: $0.06". So, I donno, maybe it's supposed to be a guide for a reel of film going through a projector??
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2009

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