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At the March 2010 Dorkbot Pittsburgh I did a presentation on Desktop Fabrication with the MakerBot 3D Printer. I talked briefly about commercial and community printing resources, the DIYLILCNC, the RepRap project, MakerBot Industries, the MakerBot Cupcake CNC, and Thingiverse.
$800 DIYLILCNCComputer controlled. Cuts wood, plastic, foam, etc.Plans online. Design and software open source.Cons: Mostly cutting/engraving, little Z-axis movement Creates lots of dust and waste
~$700 RepRap Mendel 3D PrinterResearch project out of the UK. Invented by Adrian Bowyer.Melts plastic to build up objects one layer at a time.All plans, electronic designs, software are open source and online at reprap.orgCan make some really complex shapes. Made from ~50% printed parts.Cons: Need a 3D printer in order to make one!
$450 for the printed parts pushes the cost well over $1,000
These and other factors slowed the uptake of RepRap as a desktop 3D printer for the masses
3 guys from NYC resistor were really into 3D printing.Adam Mayer, Zach Hoeken Smith, Bre PettisZach spent 2 years building a RepRap, only to have it break minutes into he got it working. Still, he went on to head up the RepRap Research Foundation in New York, and designed the 3rd generation RepRap electronics.Bre Pettis, once a videographer for Make: Magazine online, had a McWire “repstrap” 3D printer, which caught on fire.
Main body supports a Cartesian robot.On the bottom, the build platform rides on top of an carriage that moves it in the X (left and right) and Y (forward and back) directions.Above the platform, a stage made of clear acrylic carries the extruder, moving it up and down along the Z axis.
Takes a filament of plastic, like ABS (the material that LEGOs are made from) and heats it to its melting point.For ABS, this is 220ºC, or about 430ºF.The filament enters the top of the extruder (behind the circuit board) and is pushed into the barrel by a motor.At the bottom of the barrel is a heater made from wire wrapped around brass tubing.Here, the filament melts, and then finally exits through the tiny nozzle: ½ millimeter in diameter.All of this is controlled by the extruder controller electronics.
TheMakerBot motherboard (left) controls the X, Y, and Z motors using the stepper motor controllers on the right.The motherboard also sends messages to the extruder controller.The motherboard can print via computer commands over USB, or it can print pre-prepared files from an SD card.
All of these things work together to build up an object layer by layer, starting at the bottom, and building up as it goes.This one is printing Walt Disney’s head.
Pre-orders only to reserve your place in line. Already bought up through mid-May 2010!!
D-Shape building system by Monolite UK Ltd.
Organovo bio-printer can print blood vessels
Desktop Fabrication - Dorkbot Pittsburgh - March 2010
“…it is still not trivial to put a RepRap together, it requires a lot of enthusiasm, a healthy dose of bravery, and the ability to navigate a project that is growing and changing every day. There aren’t step by step instructions which makes it a very challenging project.“<br />Bre Pettis, MakerBot Co-Founder<br />