RepRap pushing the bounds of DIY 3D Printing
Fab@home brings object-autonomy to the masses
The Fab@Home project is a 3D printing movement developed by Hod Lipson and Evan Malone of Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Laboratory. Fabathome (Fabricate at Home), a strong diy community, helps unite 3D-printing hobbyists, students and designers –enabling widespread sharing of ideas and designs. Within one year of its 2006 inception, the Fabathome project received more than 17 million hits on their website. Since then, the movement has been gaining media popularity and high acclaim from technological institutions. In 2007, Fab@Home received a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award.
The machines used to fabricate 3D objects are called “fabbers”. These machines are hooked up to your desktop, and can make anything from door knobs, curtain rings, children’s shoes to parts of more complex practical objects, such as flashlights or lamps. The idea is to be able to print any 3d object— for practical use or for artistic value—right at home and thus, get rid of large distributors. This would revolutionize our economy by nullifying the need to buy goods from the few large producers with access to larger factories and expensive machinery.
Fabathome 3D printers have a very basis hardware framework – chassis, tool heads, and electronics are about it. The new Model 2 printer is extremely easy to use and has a simpler design than its predecessor. The economic structure of the printer reduces cost, build time, and the skill level required to operate the machines.
Anyone can join the fab@home movement – start by visiting fabathome.org. You can find information about building your own 3D printer or buying pre-built 3d printers. There are many different types of materials you can use to build 3D objects. The printers are compatible with silicone, cement, and stainless steel; they can even be used to make creative food product designs as the machines are compatible with foods such as cake frosting or cheese. Once you’ve got the hardware and materials, just download and install the open-source software and you’ll be ready to go.
The Fab@Home movement promotes the open-sharing of 3d designs and prototypes. The goal is to expand their communities all over the world, and to crystallize this revolutionary ideology into a reality.