3-D printing is a great tool to have for designers and inventors, but there's more to making stuff than just building a shell out of plastic. The MakerArm aims to be an end-to-end solution for prototyping hardware, doing everything from sketching to printing to cutting, etching, gluing and attaching — it'll even ice a cake.
It does this all by having an all-purpose, high-precision robotic arm with swappable heads. Pop on the 3-D printer head and make a rough version of your device. Swap on the grabber and the arm will place and screw in the circuit board — then customize it with the soldering head. Have it plot diagrams with a pen, or etch designs on anything its laser will pierce.
MakerArm is, of course, a tool for professionals — you can't just tell it to make a phone or toy and let it do its thing. But people who know what they're doing will surely appreciate its versatility — the device can replace several bulky alternatives like milling machines and laser cutters, as long as nothing heavy-duty is required.
The creators of the MakerArm are looking for funding on Kickstarter, with around $85,000 of the target $350,000 raised so far. The early bird specials are gone, but you can pre-order a device for around $1,400 — well below the $2,200 it's expected to retail for later.