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Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication Paperback – February 6, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The book presents interesting examples of people building things that most would assume were beyond their ability. But he does not do a good job of explaining what can and can't be accomplished. Too much of the book sounds like a fund-raising appeal for a charity, describing a needy person who was helped rather than focusing on the technology or design process. He is rather thoughtless about choosing what technical details to provide, giving examples of assembly language (something widely known, and hard enough to use that most of his target users will be deterred from making designs which need it), but when he describes novel ideas such as "printing" a kit that can be assembled into a house he is too cryptic for me to guess whether that method would improve on standard methods.
I've tried thinking of things I might want to build, and I'm usually no closer to guessing whether it's feasible than before I read the book. For example, it would be nice if I could make a prototype of a seastead several feet in diameter, but none of the examples the book gives appear to involve methods which could make sturdy cylinders or hemispheres that large.
The index leaves much to be desired - minicomputers are indexed under computers, and open source is indexed under software, when I expected to find them under m and o.
And despite the lip service he pays to open source software, the CAM software he wrote comes with a vague license that doesn't meet the standard definition of open source.
If you enjoy the topic the book will be interesting, but it lacks enough detail to be useable as a reference and the writing isn't quite focused enough to be IMHO a good read.
In reference to hydroelectric production in Ghana... "In 1996 about one gigawatt was produced for the whole country...". I would have hoped that author or some of the more clever MIT grad student proofreaders would have had the knowledge and/or diligence to differentiate between power and energy. GW-H maybe? (Myhrvold...did you open this book?)
I also feel Neil's disdain of "shady business" capitalism does his students and world citizens a disservice. Money is neutral, neither good or bad, proper management can do good things. Journalists only publish the evil that discourages. Basic business mgmt certainly isn't rocket science. I would call for the Academic Community to get involved in active competitive entrepreneurship...and be the beacon in the wilderness.
My disatisfaction was complete with the PC reference to how the advent of firearms was an "immoral" change on the battlefield...(as if murder by a closer sword was somehow moral). But the amusing part was where he later recounted a technology briefing with military/industrial complex Generals.Read more ›
Recently I started doing a weekly radio program. I'm constantly searching for new topics and this week I did technology. Fab was a natural, so I finally read it.
I found the book inspiring, entertaining, and exciting. The only downer, for me, was that his historical analysis was pretty shallow, but then I've studied a lot of history, especially the history of technology.
His approach to getting the fab technology out in the field so that people without much access to the latest stuff can fabricate things they need felt right on to me.
Oh yes, and he does explain how to fabricate larger stuff, using what he calls a "turtle." Apparently you can program a device to crawl around and mark out on a surface the shape you need, which can then be cut out using the appropriate tools.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The day is soon coming when we can all have custom-made anything. We will either be able to buy it for less than what we now pay for cookie-cutter products, or we'll be able to... Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by Sailor Barsoom
This book gives valuable insight into what people will use personal fabricators for, and I believe that widespread adoption is within 10 years.Published on July 17, 2013 by Mr. Smith
The author is more concerned with the things that people around the world can do with 3D printers and similar technology than he is with how the technology works. Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by Rick Cook
This is an excellent book for several reasons the most important is the one word insight. Neil Gershenfeld understands the human mind and how education is enhanced by doing things... Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by jimcoxga
The book "Fab" by Neil Gershenfeld is about how technology has given us the ability to make (almost) anything from basic raw or recycled materials. Read morePublished on December 11, 2012 by Ryo216
Ahead of its time and prophetic although as the author suggests, he was standing in the midst of that reality rising up. Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by Jeff Bennett
The book, Fab, is just that, fabulous. The author, Neil Gershenfeld, an MIT professor, explains the principles of desktop fabucation in a clear, easy to undersand manner using many... Read morePublished on August 21, 2011 by M. D. Warren
Neil Gershenfeld rocks. its simple as that. the book has a strange kind of structure filled up with anecdotes of uses and impacts of the fabrication technology. Read morePublished on June 9, 2011 by machina eX
I am excited about the growing field of DIY manufacturing technologies (I.e. any MAKE magazine).
I picked up this book, excited that there was someone exploring the... Read more