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The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... Answered

Hi everyone!

I would like to introduce the Metalbot Project, the first ever effort to design and make an open source 3D Metal Printer...


I am sure many of you have heard of 3D Printers, perhaps even used them. The issue with 3D Printing has always been strength of materials. We are hoping to over come this issue with the Metalbot.

We are in need of people with a wide range of skills in machining, DIY'ing, electronics, programming, physics, software etc...

If you have any questions about the project, I will be more than glad to answer them!

Best regards,



Hi everyone! It has been a few months and the Metalbot project is slowly coming together! Check out what is going on: http://www.metalbot.org/ We have had loads of great ideas and there are quite a few very interesting projects unfolding at the moment (take a look at the projects section). We are slowly working towards a preliminary design and there are a lot of options now so if you guys have any ideas, please send them our way! All the best, Jethro.

Just a quick update for the interested... there are some interesting ideas going around!

We have decided, for now at least, to put a "laser scanner" on the back burner and go with a Gantry. So some form of CNC software in combination with a slicer will be used.

Check out some preliminary designs for the Metalbot printer here... http://www.metalbot.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=111

If you have google sketchup you can download the model here... http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehou...74&prevstart=0



The best way I've yet seen was a vacuum chamber deposited "inkjet" of liquid metal. The metallurgy of the samples was fantastic. The inkjet was steered by electrically charging the drops and reacting them between plates, like an electron in a CRT

Cool! What was the printer called? The process sounds very unique. One drawback I can imagine is that it would not be possible to print overhangs, same story with direct deposition.

Selective laser sintering can print overhangs because it is always supported with a powder bed, this is one major reason we have homed in on this process... you just have to remove the powder from the enclosed spaces.

Mount the thing on a 5 axis mounting, and you can print anything.

Here's a paper on the process.

Kiteman - Exactly that. Input, just a show of support, feedback on the site etc... Imagine what the instructables community could do with a 3D METAL printer!!

Lewisb42 - It is open source, public domain. But advice on licensing and indeed the entire process of licensing would be very helpful and much appreciated, do you have experience in this sector? Indeed it is an ambitions project, but once completed (and there are many talented individuals who are actively making and designing) it will be a true game changer. It will change the home manufacture revolution don't you think?

Best Regards!


I've browsed your main site, and your wiki, and all I can find, really, is a wish-list.

Have you actually achieved anything yet? Have you built anything? Designed anytjing? Written or acquired any software? Have you even written a detailed specification?

I have other concerns:

Where are you? The donations page is in dollars, but that is the only clue to Metalbot's location.

Who are you? There is a single name identified as being part of the site, and it's not "Jethro", it's "Jetho". How do I trust a site when the owner can't spell their own name consistently?

Where is the money going? There are no employees, and no visible achievements, so where is the money going? And how much are you after anyway?

For an "open source community", that's a lot of hidden or missing information.

I'm not trying to shut you down in any way, but you need to provide a lot more before you get others giving up their time and money.

Tell us exactly what has been achieved to date, who you are, where you are, and give a continuous update on what money is needed, what for, how much has come in, from where, how much has been spent, on what.

As exciting as the open source concept is, you achieve nothing with a nice idea and a vague invitation. Gather a core team, identified and active on your site. Be active on a range of Maker sites, giving regular updates of achievements and what is needed next.

Have a look at this site's "who we are" page to see what I mean.

Hello Kiteman, first, thank you for taking the time to review the website! Highly appreciated...

We don't have a working prototype right now. I tried to make that clear underneath the second subheading on the about page...

"The challenge of making a 3D Metal Printer should not be underestimated. Metalbot is by no means a finished system. It is up us as a community to define and develop the design."​​ ​

But there are a couple of people that are very close and will be documenting their experiments and projects over on Metalbot.org which should make things very interesting over the next few months.

The great thing is that each subsystem can be designed and considered a success in their own right. There is still a ton of documentation that needs to be done and that is actively being worked on.

Addressing your other concerns...

A real about page is under construction. Thank you for finding that typo.

I want to be clear, I am not soliciting funds in any way. I think I should have buried the donations page deeper in the site. Metalbot is there so that people with the same interests (goal of making a 3d printer capable of printing in Metals) can come together and bash out an open design, a place where every experiment, success and failure related to the subject can be documented for those interested.

No money is needed :) only information.

"As exciting as the open source concept is, you achieve nothing with a nice idea and a vague invitation. Gather a core team, identified and active on your site. Be active on a range of Maker sites, giving regular updates of achievements and what is needed next."

This is what I am currently working on, and with regard to your third sentence, that is why I am here :) .

Thank you again for your suggestions! Much appreciated.

If this is truly an open-source, community effort (and I hope it is -- it's ambitious and worthwhile), you need to be very clear about the license that will apply to all software code, CAD files, schematic files, etc. that will be generated from the development. I could not find that anywhere on your site.

Is there anything specific you want from the Instructables community?

Help, ideas...?