Open Source 3D Printer
See also: 3D Printing
2. Terry Wohlers:
"Cornell University, with its Fab@Home project, was one of the first to develop an open-source 3D printer. The machine uses an x-y motion system to deposit materials through a syringe layer by layer. The system enables the use of many types of materials, ranging from chocolate and cake icing to plastics and living cells. Versions of the machine have produced rigid and elastic polymer mechanical parts, electrical circuits, polymer transistors, relays, polymer actuators, alkaline batteries, engineered living tissues, chocolate sculptures, cake decorations, and hors d’oeuvres—all directly from computer data and raw materials.
It’s possible to obtain the plans from the Fab@Home website and build a machine on your own. Alternatively, you can order a kit for $2,600 or an assembled machine for $3,700. An estimated 123 systems were installed in 20 countries in 2007 and 2008.
RepRap and CandyFab are two other open-source developments, with RepRap gaining the most traction to date. The RepRap project originated at Bath University in the UK, with an initial emphasis on self-replication. The goal is to produce a machine that can make copies of itself. The system uses ABS and polyethylene in filament form, similar to FDM from Stratasys. The parts I’ve seen remind me of the very early parts from FDM (circa 1990), including a seam where the deposition starts and stops.
RepRap kits are available commercially from A1 Technologies of the UK for £750 (~$1,250) and Makerbot Industries for $750 ($2,500 fully assembled). It is believed that 500–1,000 systems have been sold, although someone closer to the development puts it at 1,500+ machines." (http://wohlersassociates.com/blog/2009/08/open-source-3d-printers/)
- Video, Dr Adrian Bowyer of the RepRap project http://reprap.org shows us around his lab at Bath University, via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUB1WgiAFHg&feature=autoshare