DIY-IT: Exciting maker projects and gear coming to ZDNet in 2019

Roll up your sleeves. 2019 is going to be chock-full of fascinating projects and cool technology.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

Welcome to 2019, the year we take our project coverage to the next level. 2018 was a year of huge transitions, where I spent most of the year moving and building out the makerspaces we'll be using to drive projects forward in 2019.

The video above shows the assembly of a set of six mobile Rockler shop stands, which will form the foundation of our new Fab Lab. It's great to be able to work on the machines from all angles and rearrange the workspace as projects change.

Our big news is that this year, the 3D Printing Discovery Series you've all been following is going to morph into the new Desktop Fabrication Discovery Series. Not only will we look at some exciting new 3D printers, but with the help of Dremel, we'll be bringing in a laser cutter.

Also: 3D Printer Reviews CNET

3D printing is generally an additive process: the things you build are created by adding material. But laser cutting is a subtractive process. We'll be cutting shapes out of wood, plastic, leather, and hopefully, even some light metals. The way you think about designing a project is entirely different when you're combining flat components, so this should be a fascinating exploration throughout the year.

I'll take you through setting up the laser cutter, figuring out how to use it, creating some test objects, and then using laser cutting in a bunch of different projects, including projects where we mix laser cutting with 3D printing.

Beyond the Dremel laser cutter, we've got at least three new-generation 3D printers on the docket.

The Zortrax M300 and M300 Plus: These are industrial-style printers with some strengths and weaknesses. Expect a review and analysis of where they're best used in the next few days.

LulzBot Mini 2: It's fair to say that the LulzBot Mini has been one of my all-time favorite 3D printers. It's built like a tank and has rarely ever failed, even in the very cold conditions of last year's unheated Oregon garage. This year, we've got the LulzBot Mini 2, along with the SL Tool Head, designed for high levels of detail. I can't wait to show you some of the test prints I've been making with this machine.

Ultimaker S5: The Ultimaker S5 takes everything we loved about the Ultimaker 3 and scales it up, adding improved technology and capabilities. This is definitely a machine built for serious designers who expect exacting performance and rock-solid reliability. Ultimaker is a company we've gotten to know quite well over the years and we have very high expectations for this new generation printer.

Beyond desktop fabrication

Beyond desktop fabrication, we expect to get even more involved with drone technology, robotics, video production, smart home tech, and, as usual, our ongoing coverage of what we've called the DIY data center. Plus, I've been creating the ultimate 2018 Mac mini, and I expect to share the details of that setup with you shortly.

Stay tuned. 2019 looks to be a very exciting fascinating, and fun year. I can't wait.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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