Speakers: Zach Hoeken on the Digital Fabrication Revolution

Zach Hoeken

“Digital Fabrication … is going to change the nature of how we design and produce items in much the same way that personal computers transformed software development and the way we transfer information. Its going to rock.”

If Zach Hoeken has his way, one day we’ll all be able to print 3D objects as easily as we print on paper today. Digital Fabrication is at the core of Objects as Software: The Coming Revolution, his talk at the 25C3.

Like other speakers in the “Making” track, he’s hard at work designing, building and evangelizing the tools and techniques we can all use to create our own awesome world. He’s made many contributions to the Replicating Rapid-prototyper (i.e. RepRap), like the Sanguino microcontroller and ReplicatorG software.

“Now its practically all that I eat, sleep, and drink,” he says.

Zach is also passionate about community building. He founded the RepRap Research Foundation and helped create the Thingiverse along with fellow 25C3 speaker Bre Pettis.

“Having a website where you can go and find all sorts of freely available designs is just the first step towards the Earl Grey future I’m working for.”

According to Zach, that future is just around the corner. As CNC machines, Laser Cutters and other “compilers” of the revolution become more accessible, Zach believes the costs of digital fabrication will go down while quality and availability increase.

“I think in 2009 we’ll begin to see real, practical self replication,” he says. “The technology will begin to really proliferate.”

Zach does most of his work at NYCResistor, a hacker space with strong ties to the CCC. (In fact, NYCResistor was originally conceived at the C4 in Cologne). He’s looking forward to participating in his first congress.

“A lot of my friends went last year,” he says, “It sounds like its the best thing since sliced bread.”