Those amongst you who spend all your waking time on Second Life: rejoice! Simon Spartalian and Mike Beradino of Recursive Instruments are launching a milling service for SL users on June 1, so you can have actual physical representations of your avatar, builds or favorite SL objects made out of anything from foam to wax to stainless steel, up to 9"x5"x5". They're using Eyebeam OpenLab's Blender. Blender then exports a stereo lithograph file for Desk Proto, which controls the mill. But why go through all this trouble?
Part of the goal of the project is to bridge the virtual and the real "by developing a cultural authority in the virtual that till now has been reserved for the physical," Spartialian says. The service will allow residents to create physical objects that can take on personal importance or perhaps even come to have financial weight around the edges of SL's in-world markets.
Now, there are lots of people making a lot of money offering services in and around of Second Life, and 3pointD correctly points out that 3D milling might appeal both to users just looking for real-world SL tchotchkes as well as companies that use SL for protyping. All well and good, but we tend to think the sign of a healthy enterprise is when sextrepreneurs start getting involved—3D milling for Second Life might be most fun in conjunction with the many prostitutes in the service, so johns can have souvenirs from their visit more tangible than virtual herpes.