The first thing Duann Scott does when he arrives at the Shapeways factory in Long Island City, Queens, is check the bins. They are yellow and stacked in an all-white room that resembles the interior of a spaceship, and they contain the latest prints to come out of the machines, which can really stack up.
Shapeways, a 3-D printing service and online marketplace, has been described as the Amazon of 3-D printing for its on-demand model, if not its outsize volume: The machines spit out about 120,000 objects a month, a tidal flow of design that runs from the mundane to the astonishing.
On a recent day, a quick search through the bins revealed a pair of pliable black-frame eyeglasses, a scale model of a biplane, an intricately detailed brass ring, enough plastic train cars to form a miniature railroad and a figurine of two tiny purple women on tiny purple trapezes. To what use any of these things will be put, Mr. Scott usually has not a clue. But that doesn’t diminish the Christmas-morning grin he gets while he is fishing through them….
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.