The open source RepRap (self-replicating) rapid prototyper Vik Olliver and his colleagues are developing is getting some serious competition:
Fab@Home project - which was developed at Carnegie Mellon University by Hod Lipson and PhD student Evan Malone.
"We are trying to get this technology into as many hands as possible," Malone told New Scientist. "The kit is designed to be as simple as possible." Once the parts have been bought, a normal soldering iron and a few screwdrivers are enough to put it together. "It's probably the cheapest machine of this kind out there," he adds
(RepRap is actually aiming at a lot less than the $2400 the Freeform fabricator – or "fabber", which is about the size of a microwave oven, can be assembled for.)
And those guys are obviously reading SHIFZ-blog as they've copied one of RepRap's features that I got very excited about: "So far it has been tested with silicone, plaster, play-doh and even chocolate and icing."
(from New Scientist)
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Low Cost Rapid Prototyper
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RepRap is currently gearing up to start extruding PLA (polyactic acid) a biodegradable "green" plastic made of Indian corn.
A spinoff of the RepRap effort, focussed on exploiting several advantages of the non-SI American materials and skills environment recently demonstrated that a modified RepRap Mk II extruder could print with polypropylene, a inexpensive, widely available engineering polymer.
This is the same filament material that you use in your string trimmer (Weed Eater to Americans)
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