T-800 Printer

I’ve been looking into 3D printers for work (aka rapid prototyping machines). I remember seeing one demonstrated on Tomorrow’s World yonks ago and was interested to see how they had moved on.

The good (but dull) business solutions: For $40k, Z Corp can supply you with an machine that will sit happily in your office and knock out full-colour models without getting your hands dirty. The upstart, Desktop Factory, aims to well undercut them with a cheap and cheerful version at $5-7k.

However, the really interesting stuff comes from the academic hackers doing crazy, speculative stuff with head-spinning implications. For starters, they want to put these machines into homes with the Fab@Home project.  They’ve reported printing 3D models out of cheese and chocolate.  Even more startlingly, the RapRep project wants to get these machines manufacturing their own, possibly superior, components aiming for a clearly insanely suicidal self-replicating process.  They have a video showing how easy it is (look out for the funny guy at 1:18).  Both these projects totally open-sourced designs with estimated costs of just a few hundred quid.

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