I wouldn’t call this 3D Whittler an “easy-to-use 3D Printer”

imodela im-01 home millThe tech blogs are abuzz with stories of the new Roland DG iModela iM-01, which is an inexpensive desktop device that bloggers are calling an “easy-to-use desktop 3D printer.” The unit, about the size of a tall desktop printer, mills wax, foam, balsa wood and plastic materials commonly used in craft and hobby projects.

The unit has a rotary tool that carves shapes designed with the accompanying iModela Creator design software into Balsa wood and other materials. You first design your model, and then load the block of media into the work bed. Then, after you’ve aligned the printer you can print half of it. When done, repeat for the other half, and then glue the two pieces together. After that, sand it down and paint it.

It’s touted as easy-to-use, and very inexpensive at about $1,000. While it may be a marvel of engineering, after watching the video, maybe it’s just me but my first thought was, wow, that looks like a heck of a lot of work! Easy to use? Compared to what?

Watch the video and see if you agree that the video should have been created by the marketing department and not by what seems to have been the engineering department. The numerous steps make me not want to buy the unit. And if I wanted to print little Japanese action figures in the first place, why wouldn’t I just upload the design to one of the 3D printing services like Shapeways.com or Sculpteo.com for example?

I don’t know if we can really call this a 3D printer, and to be fair, it’s bloggers calling it a 3D printer, not the company, who calls it a 3D Hobby Mill. I think I’ll just call it a 3D Whittler.

And can someone tell me what 1980’s video game that music is from?