NextFab Studios, 2025 Washington Avenue, Philadelphia

solidworks, NextFab, Philadelphia

Solidworks Plastics, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia, PA

DoN has been aware of NextFab since Summer 2012 when he met the principles of the 3D printing lab with a gym style membership in a 5k foot studio at a Corzo Center for the Creative Economy seminar. And then we met again at an Arts Tech Philly Meet Up. Industrial design and modeling objects is outside the realm of DoN‘s understanding of multimedia but the knowledge that there was a place to go to learn about emerging 3D printing technology was reassuring.

January 17th, 2013 was the opening party of NextFab and it turns out the future has landed in South Philly. And it’s only a few blocks from the Haus of DoN!

DoN is familiar with Washington Avenue for home repair supplies warehouses and auto shops but now there’s a massive space with the latest in manufacturing tools right in the middle of the mix and they even have a cafe´! DoN predicts galleries, restaurants and shops will create a renaissance in the neighborhood that is expanding the bounds of Center City Philadelphia.

Solidworks Plastics, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

Solidworks PlasticsNextFab, Philadelphia, PA

“We are located in a 21000 square foot facility at 2025 Washington Avenue, one of Philadelphia’s busiest retail corridors. This former custom iron workshop has been reconfigured into an engine of tomorrow’s creative economy featuring a collaboration space with cutting edge tools, expert staffing, 3D printers, computer controlled machine tools, software, electronic workbenches, classes, workshops, and friendly and affordable consulting  services. We offer workspaces in a comfortable, clean and safe environment. NextFab Studio has everything necessary for you to invent, repair, create, and innovate! Read More” – NextFab Website

3D Printing, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

3D Printing, NextFab, Philadelphia, PA

The opening party was jammed with artists, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and exciting new technology. There is a separate room with various 3D printers, guests were not permitted entrance with a beverage. DoN chugged his Walt Wit, an excellent ale, and gawked at the various machines from this small robot printing tags to professional printers making medical devices. Someone please tell me what company this is – DoN was buzzed.

3D Printing, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

3D Printing, NextFab, Philadelphia, PA

ShopBot, NextFab, Philadelphia

ShopBotNextFab, Philadelphia, PA

ShopBot, NextFab, Philadelphia

ShopBotNextFab, Philadelphia, PA

There are robots at work at NextFab Studios ready to make your woodworking dreams come true.

“Now celebrating our 15th year of technology innovation, ShopBot’s digital fabrication tools are carving out the future of prototyping, production, manufacturing, grassroots ‘making,’ and education. Today almost 6,000 ShopBots are at work in small shops and larger production facilities across the U.S. and around the world. They are used in a range of production operations from signmaking, cabinetmaking and all types of woodworking, to producing stealth fighters or manufacturing hi-tech housing.” ShopBot Website

Love Park Robotics, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

Love Park Robotics, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

NextFab Studios has offices as well and Love Park Robotics is one of the first tenants.

Love Park Robotics is a start-up company based in Philadelphia, PA. We develop technologies to enable intelligent products and services. Our flagship platform, CoPilot, enables sliding-scale autonomous navigation of service vehicles both indoors and in dynamic, outdoor environments. Through flexible licensing options, we partner with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to integrate our technology into new state-of-the-art products and services.” – Love Park Robotics Website.

Freeform Feomagic, NextFab, Philadelphia

Geomagic Freeform, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

OK, this will blow your mind.

Geomagic Freeform is a unique touch-enabled solution that facilitates fast 3D modeling of complex, highly detailed, organic shapes for prototyping or manufacturing.

Two of Freeform’s unique aspects clearly differentiate it from other 3D modeling programs: its integration with haptic 3D input devices and its robust voxel-based data model. This combination provides a unique capability to emulate the physical process of sculpting clay. The haptic 3D input devices also enhance the experience of modeling using many more commonplace CAD techniques.” – Geomagic Freeform Website

In other words you can draw in space with the stylus attached to the armature, the computer program renders all the complicated 3D modeling and then you print it out in plastic. The synchronicity between the technologies and services offered at NextFab Studios provides solutions and knowledge to solve problems for artists and designers. Philadelphia Dumpster Diver artist Tony Nash is already a NextFab Studios member and she has created objects she has realized with 3D printing into her mixed media sculpture currently on display at Fireside Gallery in Devon.

Flow, NextFab, Philadelphia

Flow Water Jet, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia, PA, USA, Planet Earth.

“There are virtually no limits to what waterjets can cut, which is why companies of all kinds and sizes are realizing greater efficiency and productivity by implementing UHP waterjets in their operations. Since Flow first invented abrasive waterjet technology in the early 1980s, the technology has evolved rapidly. Decades of research have led to the development of waterjets that do more and cost less. Here’s how Flow waterjets can benefit your business.” – Flow Water Jet Website

A water jet shooting at mach three can cut through two feet of solid steel to create perfectly engineered metal parts and objects. People were literally standing by watching with their jaws hanging open observing the immense machine cut through steel, it’s like a science fiction movie set with giant robots doing our bidding. DoN held a small motorcycle still wet from the water vat where is was carved, so cool. What would you make with a water jet laser?

Flow, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia

Flow Water Jet, NextFab Studios, Philadelphia, PA. An array of object made of metal cut with water jets.

Smart Fabric Circuits, NextFab Studios

Smart-Fabric CircuitsNextFab Studios, Drexel University, Fashion Design, Shima Seiki Haute Tech Lab

Smart-Fabric Circuits, NextFab Studios, Drexel University, Fashion Design, Shima Seiki Haute Tech LabClick through on the poster to learn about this incredible emerging technology. There are exciting technological breakthroughs taking place in Philadelphia, NextFab Studios offers the lay-person the opportunity to participate in developments that are creating the future of art and design.

“Smart garments – or wearable technology – are clothing made of fabric embedded with technology.  Smart garments have the potential to give written and spoken messages or monitor and communicate physiological parameters such as breathing and vital signs. Embedded technology such as flexible circuitry, flexible antennas and adequate power source are key components to the reliable and successful operation of wearable technology.” Drexel Website

So, here are three things to help you understand the merging of arts and technology in Philadelphia:

“The future is fun! … The future is fair! … You may already have won! … You may already be there!” – Firesign Theater, I Think We’re All Bozos on this Bus.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike February 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I think that the new 3d printer technology is totally fascinating. I have seen faces printed and other body parts. Now with the software to take simple photos and put them into 3d rendering, what is stopping anyone from just going to a store and seeing figurines or water fountains or whatever, taking pictures of them and going home to make a 3d duplicate of what they wanted in the store? You can dupe anything anyone else hand sculps or creates on your own. Heck even print your own furniture just by going to the store and taking pictures of what you want. Well maybe the cushions might be a little hard but you can always get some somewhere.

admin February 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

It’s not quite that easy. You would need to scan the entire object not just a photo of something. And the results are prototypes not finished products. Not yet, anyway. – DoN

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