Last time I gave a theoretical introduction to 3D printers. and briefly talked about some concepts such as self-replication, and the impact of such devices on society. Today I’d like to show you two specific projects that can be built for more or less than $1,000, both of which are full-featured 3D plastic printers, and both of which are open source and in active development.

Make no mistake, they will be the next big thing and change the world as we know it . I will also briefly talk about a site where you can download models to make after you build your 3D printer. !

MakerBot

The MakerBot is the first widely known DIY 3D printer, and so it has had plenty of time to mature. They even raised $10 million in Venture Capital last week, so you can be damn sure he’s on the right track.

To give you a better overview of the machine than I could ever hope to explain in text, here is Master Mechanic Bre Pettis himself talking about the MakerBot.

Note. The latest version is the Thing-O-Matic, but the model shown in the video is the «Cupcake CNC 3D Printer».

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Thing-O-Matic (see below) can now also continuously print objects, «ejecting» them when completed. So what it really means is that you can have your own private factory. First of all, just look at this — it’s incredibly cute, wouldn’t you like to have it in your workshop?

build your own 3D printer

In terms of self-replication, MakerBot is somewhat limited by its build area (the physical dimensions of the largest object that can be printed) at 10 cm, but one enterprising young man achieved this by gluing many parts together. Those looking for a larger build area should look no further than RepRap.

reprap

RepRap is a more standalone project that has a larger build area of ​​20cm but requires a lot more setup and calibration. It’s also not as cute, but easier to repair and upgrade — obviously — and users claim you’ll learn a lot more in the process of making it.

Build a 3D printer yourself

While you can purchase a complete kit from BitsFromBytes for £800-100, RepRaps are designed from the start to self-replicate at the current 50% rate. This means that each RepRap can make up 50% of the parts needed to create another RepRap, which is incredible.

This was first achieved back in 2008. Future versions of the RepRap printer will, of course, be able to print in the current version (!) and hope to increase the self-reproducibility percentage even further.

Thingiverse

From Make-crew, Thingiverse is a public and open source repository for designing digital 3D objects, as well as a social network for the people who actually design or make them. Some of the things you can download and print on your own 3D printer might well be downright ridiculous — the Mentos Diet Coke cannon; insanely amazing — a life-size replica of the sword of omen of the ThunderCats; frankly quite useful — box divider. You can find them all in the «popular» archives.

create your own 3d printer

In fact, maybe it’s time to step back, take a breath and just try to understand how incredibly cool this is — you can download and print physical object. This, dear readers, is the future, but it is also here and now.

Let us know in the comments if you think this is the most amazing thing since sliced ​​bread, or if you’re planning on making one for yourself! We will be glad to some photos, even if you created them. Or what would you print on yours?

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