"Ubiquitous automated manufacturing can thus open the door to a new class of independent designers, a marketplace of printable blueprints, and a new economy of custom products. Just like the Internet and MP3’s have freed musical talent from control of big labels, so can widespread RP divorce technological innovation from the control of big corporations." (http://synth1.mae.cornell.edu/wiki/index.php?title=Fab%40Home:Overview)
URL = http://www.fabathome.org
"Fab@Home is a website dedicated to making and using fabbers - machines that can make almost anything, right on your desktop. This website provides an open source kit that lets you make your own simple fabber, and use it to print three dimensional objects. You can download and print various items, try out new materials, or upload and share your own projects. Advanced users can modify and improve the fabber itself.
Fabbers (a.k.a 3D Printers or rapid prototyping machines) are a relatively new form of manufacturing that builds 3D objects by carefuly depositing materials drop by drop, layer by layer. Slowly but surely, with the right set of materials and a geometric blueprint, you can fabricate complex objects that would normally take special resources, tools and skills if produced using conventional manufacturing techniques. A fabber can allow you explore new designs, email physical objects to other fabber owners, and most importantly - set your ideas free. Just as digital audio and the Internet have freed musical talent, we hope that blueprints and fabbers will democratize innovation.
While several commercial systems are available, their price range - tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands of dollars - is typically well beyond what an average home user can afford. Furthermore, commercial systems do not usually allow or encourage experimentation with new materials and processes. But more importantly, most - if not all - commercial system are geared towards making passive parts out of a single material. Our goal is to explore the potential of universal fabrication: Machines that can use multiple materials to fabricate complete, active systems." (http://www.fabathome.org)
"Lipson and Malone's machine is different to conventional rapid manufacturing technologies in several reasons: First, it can use a number of materials, from plastics to metals with a low melting point. "This makes them useful for making parts or components, but not for making complete systems. We're aiming to make integrated systems, including circuitry and sensors,"
Second, the machine is not a proprietary technology, but open source machinery.
DIY fabbers have been able to download plans on how to make their own Fab@Home devices from the web site and are able to build it using off-the-shelf components for around $2000, or buy a kit for $3,000. The machines can then be run from software on a desktop computer. Unsurprisingly the current model is more rudimentary than professional rapid prototyping machines." (http://mass-customization.blogs.com/mass_customization_open_i/2007/05/cnn_on_user_man.html)
"Hod Lipson's grand plan was to make a robot that could build copies of itself. What the Cornell University roboticist ended up with was something more modest. In Lipson's Model 1, a syringe ejects epoxy or another gooey material onto a platform in paper-thin layers. He started the Fab@Home Web site in 2006 for the masses to pool their knowledge and improve on the machine's open-source design. So far, early adopters have cranked out ephemera such as wristwatch bands, iPod skins, and logos made of cheese printed on crackers. Lipson's group is currently testing a two-syringe model for printing different colors or materials." (http://www.sciam.com/slideshow.cfm?id=five-ways-to-print-3d-objects)