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.

schorhr10 years ago
Speaking of Candy... Check out
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 it
oskay10 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.

royalestel10 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.