It’s no secret that we love lofty goals. One of this week’s features has such a goal. It is literally and figuratively lofty, they plan to mine asteroids. The other subject is near and dear to many of us, bringing those versatile CNC machines we appreciate into the hands of normal people.
- We know more about Asteroids than we do about the Earth
- An Affordable Desktop CNC Milling Machine anyone can use.
We know more about Asteroids than we do about the Earth
Remember the big audacious plan to mine asteroids? Planetary Resources formed with the intention to mine platinum and other precious components from asteroids and bring them back to earth. Today that plan was revised to provide orbiting fuel depots using water sources in space. It’s hard to not be a little disappointed but all the while hopeful that people will continue to dream big and make things happen. One of the cool things we discovered while researching this was a great info-graphic that tells explains how we earthlings know more about Asteroids than we do about the Earth beneath our feat. It’s chock full of some fascinating facts including:
- In 1994 Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter leaving an Earth-Sized hole on the surface.
- More than 10,758 Near Earth Asteroids have been discovered.
- 97% of those 10,758 were discovered in the last 20 years!
- 3 new near Earth Asteroids are found every single day.
- Optical, Radar and Infrared systems allow us to find out how they are spinning, how they are shaped and the albedo (reflecting power) to determine the type.
- 13 Asteroids have been examined up close by spacecraft.
- 3 Asteroids have been orbited by spacecraft (and 3 more soon!).
- We even have samples from the surface of one Asteroid.
You might want to check out the entire info-graphic here. If you love, NASA, aerospace and science, as much as we do it’s an absolute must.
An Affordable Desktop CNC Milling Machine anyone can use.
The crowd funding site Kickstarter is used by a lot of inventive individuals and teams to get the funding they need to launch products. There is a good chance you may already be using products that got their start on Kickstarter. As of this writing $1,105,162,679 total dollars have been pledged to 61,374 Kickstarter projects. One of those projects is an affordable Desktop CNC Mill from Carbide3D LLC in Segundo, CA called a Nomad 883 Desktop Milling Machine. This project has received $243,256 of their target $30,000. The Kickstarter page claims that if you can use a 3D printer you can use their machine. They set a target price of under $2,500 for the production units, making it on par with it’s desktop 3D Printer cousins.
User Friendly Features
One of the interesting characteristics is the extent that the CAM system provided – Mesh Cam, along with their Carbide Motion software adjusts feed rates, speeds, and depth of cut automatically. This will allow the device to be used without heavy programming experience. What will be truly interesting is to see what the actual part cycle time and total part costs will be. One thing is certain, it will provide more material flexibility than a comparably priced 3D printer. This fact alone will make it very attractive to people considering 3D printing vs. CNC Milling technology.
Here is a video of the Kickstarter Campaign by Carbide3D LLC (Video not showing? Try here.)