With this week’s launch of a Kickstarter for Makerarm, one of those giant hurdles has already been overcome.(VIDEO.) The makers behind this maker-friendly device already have a working prototype. I saw it working, happily buzzing along on the table, making a 3-D-printed plastic boat as we chatted.
If Makerarm was a 3-D printer alone, it would be interesting, but just one of dozens of such devices that have come and gone in the crowdfunding realm. What sets this one apart, say Makerarm co-founders Zaib Husain and Azam Shahani, is that the cylinder-like device has detachable heads. You could 3-D print with it, but you could also laser engrave, assemble printed circuit boards, or even ice a cake with attachments that screw on. Makerarm’s software, which will be web-based and accessible from nearly any device, will detect what head is attached and offer options for that particular tool head.
In three days, the project has raised $114,718 of its $349,750 goal with 107 backers. The project has 32 more days to complete its funding.
Zaib has a background in finance and Shahani is an engineer, but both have been working on projects at TechShop. Makerarm, Zaib says, is an attempt to speed up making and to solve some of the problems that 3-D printers and other fabrication devices have. “Makerarm started out with our frustration with building a technology that we had at our disposal,” she said.
On Kickstarter, several early-bird tiers of the Makerarm plus a selection of tool heads are sold out, including one that was $999. As of this writing, it can be pre-ordered for $1,399 or $2,199 for a set that includes all available tool heads. It’s expected to be out in beta testing by next April and fully available by fall 2016.
Shahani said that Makerarm’s versatility makes it a good tool for a maker shop or someone who is experimenting. “For someone just starting, you can try many different forms of making,” he said.
You can see more videos about how Makerarm works on the company’s website and Kickstarter page.