Desk-top 3D printer - competition idea.

(I've mentioned this before, but in what seems to be a season of big making competitions, it seemed appropriate to mention it again.)

Fab@Home is a scheme where people build their own 3D printer ("fabber") and print ... anything, made of.... anything - silicone, glue, frosting (icing). Their dream is to send fabbers into space on autonomous probes - they find somewhere interesting to investigate, they print a robot suited to the environment. If conditions change, print a different robot. Things get busy, print another printer! (Von Neuman, can you hear me?).

Apparently one kid won a science fair by printing a map in chocolate!

They have a wiki, including a page of ideas.

Doesn't that strike you as a great project for Instructables?

How about a competition - design something to be printed by a fabber, and win your design, printed by somebody's fabber.

schorhr9 years ago
Speaking of Candy... Check out http://candyfab.org
THeir prototype cost about 500 Bucks, which is much lower then some other rapid prototyping diy projects. Its limited to sugar, but still an awesome project ;-)

Also there is RepRep or such.
I just finished writing a instructable for one of theese its like $50-$100 its my first one and the idea came from a websight its on the intro page i beleve. heres my linstructable on ithttps://www.instructables.com/id/Build-your-verry-own-3D-printer/
oskay9 years ago
There is no shortage of open-source 3D printing projects. What would really be helpful is to have contests for improved designs of certain essential components that could be used with *all* of these projects, and as the foundation for new ones. Here are some ideas:

1. Design an extruder: The missing link between the DIY CNC machine and a 3D fabricator. We want to be able to rapidly push out controlled amounts of a viscous substance on demand. Can you make it work with materials as diverse as peanut butter and icing gel? Can you make it operate with a variety of different diameters? Can you keep it food safe? Can you make a design that works with materials that melt when heated, like hot glue or chocolate? Can you make it feed continuously from a large reservoir?
The output of that contest combined with the CNC machine design produces a useful 3D fabber.

2. Design a micro-jet printhead. You want to print by injecting tiny amounts of water into powdered sugar, starch, or plaster. Can you design a new head or modify/reverse engineer an existing inkjet design to open it up for the rest of us?

3. Ultra low-cost DRO. Design a 3-axis digital readout system for home-built CNC machines (including 3D printers) that is very low in cost, open source, and *scalable* so that you could build one three or feet long.

royalestel9 years ago
I think the concept is nice, the execution not tenable with every material chosen. I have been looking into various 3d printing approaches, and I'm currently going with a candyfabber with meltable plastic (recycle while printing!) approach. Actually, the CNC machine instructable was a nice start. But anyways, sure, I like your contest idea.