Yesterday I took a first step in a new experiment: I bought a desk top milling machine (Roland MX-15, see pic). At 750 Euro (compared to 3000 new), this second hand machine is price competitive with anything else currently on the (DIY) market. I bought the machine from Hanne van Essen, one of the founders of the Dutch FabLab Foundation (and on which board I currently serve).
Hopefully it is a first step to creating a ‘mini FabLab’ at home. An idea inspired by Bart Bakker who showed you can set-up a FabLab at home for under 3500 Euro, the great guys at FabLab Amersfoort who bootstrapped themselves into existence for 5000 Euro, as well as my own notions of a ‘Maker Household‘ and turning the home more into a productive unit (in terms of both energy as well as actual production), and creating more resilience in the context of our networks and our connected world.
Other elements that in time will be added to this miniFabLab:
- a laser cutter (the true work horse of any ‘making’ set-up. There’s a wonderful open source project LaOS. Cost will be 1500 Euro or so)
- a vinyl cutter (about 300 Euro)
- a micro electronics workbench (the next thing to do probably, some stuff I already have)
- a 3D printer (but they’ve got a way to go before they are truly useful at household level, currently last on my wish list)
The biggest challenge will be finding a space for all this in our home. The utility room would be possible but also needs to fit other things such as the washing machine and dryer, so it’s a challenge space wise. The shed might work space wise, but probably the big variations of temperature over the year in that space (it is not insulated from the outside) are probably detrimental to any equipment.
The experiment has started at least. Next up: planning time in my schedule to figure out how to work with the machine.