While 3D printers build, iModela carves
3D printers are certainly hot technology these days, with machines like the Printrbot, MakerBot and Cubify launching on a regular basis. But while most of these devices focus on building something from the ground up, Roland DG has unveiled a new machine that does the exact opposite. Rather than slowly building a model by adding layers of material, the iModela iM-01 3D Modeling Machine carves its creations down from a larger block of material, like a small, automated sculptor.
iModela can create a 3D product from common crafting materials like plastic, balsa wood, wax, or foam. The machine's spindle motor is also built to accommodate a variety of milling attachments, allowing users to have greater control over how their creations turn out. The whole thing can even be packed up into a portable carrying case for easy transportation. The device was created with hobbyists in mind, though design engineers could definitely get some use out of it.
Users can create a 3D model with the included iModela Creator software by either downloading files online or sketching out their own designs. Pre-made designs can be found and shared through the iModela website's online community, where tips on using the machine can be shared.
The iModela 3D Modeling Machine sells for US$899 and can be purchased from the product's website. Check out the video below to see the milling process in action.