Fab@home 3d printing



I wanted to make a note here about a recent news story related to a topic that’s fascinated me for the ~10 years or so since I first heard of such things…. For some time there have been 3d printers. Devices that would use a liquid of some sort to “print” a real physical object. Usually these were plastic-ish prototype parts/proof of concept samples. These “printers” cost 10s of thousands of dollars and typically just have one material to choose from. Certainly out of reach for a home tinkerer… But recently I read this article about a desktop fabricator… The project name is fab@home and for ~$2500 in parts YOU can build your own personal fabricator….


Among the interesting aspects of this are that in addition to being cheaper and available for hobbiests/home users, it could also make use of multiple input materials and one of their hopes is to share designs with other users. Additionally the software to control this has been released under a BSD license at sourceforge.net.

Here’s the textblurb from there…

GUI shows a synchronized view of the motion of the Fab@Home
The Fab@Home Project (http://www.fabathome.org) allows you to build your own fabber (3D printer/rapid prototyper), which can print almost anything, right on your desktop. The Fab@Home application is the interface between you and your fabber.

Another blurb from the article:

A cheap self-assembly device capable of fabricating 3D objects has been developed by US researchers. They hope the machine could kick start a revolution in home fabrication – or “rapid prototyping” – just as early computer kits sparked an explosion in home computing.

Rapid prototyping machines are already used by designers, engineers and scientists to create one-off mechanical parts and models. These create objects by depositing layer upon layer of liquid or powdered material.

Interesting stuff… who would have thought 20 years ago that so many homes would have a PC with photo printer? I wonder if 20 years from now many homes will have their own fabricator?

Of course one of my interests in it is the printing of replacement bits… I don’t know how many things I’ve had become useless because a small plastic part broke and costs $30 more than a new one to replace.

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