TangiBot, the latest clone design of the popular Makerbot 3D printer, should offer the same performance and features as the original printer, by 33% reduced costs. Matt Strong, the creator of the clone MakerBot 3D printer Kickstarter pledge, tries to rise 500K $ for his project. Matt describes himself as an 3D printing enthusiast who is creating and printing stuff since several years now. TangiBot is one of the latest initiatives in the hyped area of desktop fabrication. Citing Kickstarter you can TangiBot for 1.254 bucks directly shipped to your door worldwide. The TangiBot prints anything you can imagine out of ABS plastic (and PLA). ABS is the same plastic used in Lego. You can design your own parts using free tools like tinkerCAD.com or Google Sketchup.
Platforms like Tingiverse offer thousands of open source 3D printing designs for all kind of purposes, ranging from play figures to machinery parts.
Beside the hyped 3D printing technology other similar projects try to establish desktop assembly and fabrication. PopFab for example implements a portable multitool robot for assembly and processing steps such as drilling, painting or even customized toolheads.
The PWDR 0.1 is a powder-based rapid prototyping printer, designed and initiated by the University of Twente. Its goal is to promote experiments and innovations in powder-based rapid-prototyping. The machine is ready to use both the 3DP as the SLS process with minimal adaption, although the printer is currently prepped for 3DP. The printer entirely consists of off-the-shelf components. It has a simple design and can be built within a couple of hours. The machine is easy and affordable to build, the entire collection of building parts for a Model 0.1 machine cost around €1000,-. PWDR’s software is able to convert a CAD model in a printable format. This file is then uploaded to the Pwdr micro-controller. The Pwdr Model 0.1 software is based on open source tools like Arduino and Processing.
We saw a lot of different hardware designs for 3D printers lately. Personal and customized fabrication of small items and sharing their fabrication plans is a real hype at the moment. I am really curious in what direction this personal fabrication movement will drift in the next years. Platforms such as Thingiverse offer a broad spectrum of creative-commons fabrication designs. Thousands of people are creating and sharing new fabrication designs every day.
Beside the classic 3D printing automatas, there are of course other methods like laser cutting, bending, milling, CNC drilling, painting, plotting or assembly automation. PopFab combines a lot of these fabrication methods within one portable fabrication multitool, which can take and use whatever tool you would like to assemble. It’s heart is a computer controlled motion platform which is designed to attach a multitude of different toolheads on it. Current toolheads allow 3D printing, milling, vinyl cutting and drawing. PopFab has already travelled the world from Saudi Arabia, Germany and the USA in its very handy carry-on box. Following video shows the drawing capabilities of PopFab in detail:
At the Red Bull Creation Contest 2012, a team came up with the idea of an Arduino driven Telepresence Zengarden. In detail this robotic garden is able to remotely print your symbols and texts in a garden of sand and of course erasing it again. So this garden is designed to last for unlimited write cycles ;), look for yourself:
Designer Janina Alleyne, who graduated at the De Montfort University designed and 3D printed these fantastic shoes. She used the design silhouettes of external skeletons of marine invertebrates, creatures and insects as pattern.
Using the advanced technology of 3D Printing these fluid anatomical shapes will not only be translated visually but also in the design process.
She and her design is also nominated for the 2012 Mulberry Accessory Award!
3D printing seems to be the next big thing, especially when this three-decade-old technology finally becomes accessible and even commonplace. In her TED talk, Lisa Harouni gives a good introduction to this fascinating way of producing things — including intricate objects once impossible to create.
Lisa Harouni is the co-founder of Digital Forming, working in “additive manufacturing”, or 3D printing.