3D Printers at Makerfaire

So many to choose from

We have posted about the various DIY 3D printers on Ponoko before so it was great to be able to see them in action at Makerfaire.

The Makerbot guys were showing off their new Frostruder and a couple of new ABS colors. The red was super cool, it kind of glowed. They had a new design for a container for the plastic spool which was good to see. The spool can get out of control if not properly looked after. Also on the horizon is a new Plastruder design (the part that melts the plastic). The new design looks a lot more robust which will be fantastic.

You can also check out the presentation given by Bre Pettis at Makerfaire about the Makerbot project and the cool stuff they are doing.

It was also nice to see custom cases showing up. Like this fluoro pink Bot by Eddy Vromen and of course the Vambot we had on display.

I was very impressed by the Fab@Home machine. It has a bigger build size than the Makerbot and the electronics look tidier and less intimidating which goes a long way in getting these machines into the hands of more people. They were printing in various plastics, and the silicon which was attention grabbing for the possibility of flexible parts. They were also showing a fume extraction device that could be attached when printing in plastic to save inhaling the potentially harmful fumes.

Jeffrey Lipton, a graduate student at Cornell University, also told me his goal is to design a 3D printer that can print a robot and have it walk off the printer. Can’t wait to see that! Apparently it is closer than you think.

There were some ‘Mendel’ Repraps on show as well. They are crazy looking but have some very clever improvements from the ‘Darwin’ model. Check out this video for the key improvements.

It’s great to see people showing off their experiments and adding to the collective pool of open source printing knowledge. The printers were typically 2nd or 3rd generation with new improvements released all the time. The new Plastruder design is something I am particularly looking forward to.

All of this goes to show the dream of having your own easy to use object making machine is getting closer all the time here.

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