Tag Archives: RepRap
3D Printers for Peace
Below are the details of the contest and how to enter.
3D printing is changing the world. Unfortunately, the only thing many people know about 3D printing is that it can be used to make guns. We want to celebrate designs that will make lives better, not snuff them out.
What is the Printers for Peace Contest?
We are challenging the 3D printing community to design things that advance the cause of peace. This is an open-ended contest, but if you’d like some ideas, ask yourself what Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, or Ghandi would make if they’d had access to 3D printing.
- low-cost medical devices
- tools to help pull people out of poverty
- designs that can reduce racial conflict
- objects to improve energy efficiency or renewable energy sources to reduce wars over oil
- tools that would reduce military conflict and spending while making us all safer and more secure
- things that boost sustainable economic development (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity)
Fully assembled, open-source Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer
The Series 1 recently won best in class in the Make: Ultimate Guide to 3-D Printing. It has a 9-by-9-by-9-inch build volume, prints at 90mm/sec in PLA, ABS and PVA with 0.1mm resolution.
Michigan Tech’s MOST version of the RepRap Prusa Mendel open-source 3D printer kit
The RepRap can be built in a weekend. It has a 7.8–by-7.8-by-6.8-inch build volume on a heated bed, prints comfortably at 80 mm/sec ABS, 45 mm/sec PLA, HDPE and PVA with 0.1 mm resolution.
Enter the Contest
Go to the Michigan Tech website to enter the contest.
Image by snapies_gi used under Creative Commons license.
$200 MakiBox 3D Printer is the Cheapest on the Market
The MakiBox 3D printer is the creation of 37-year-old Jon Buford, founder of Hong Kong-based startup Makible. Buford launched the company with $50,000 in seed funding and a round of pre-orders from a crowdfunding campaign. Makible’s 2013 goal is to hit $2 to $3 million in revenue.
Targeting Cost over Scale
MakiBox is attacking the low end of the market. While leading desktop 3D printers from MakerBot and 3D Systems range from $1,700 to $2,200, there has been a price war at the low end among dozens of Kickstarter projects and RepRap innovations. Makible is possibly the lowest priced 3D printer in the market.
To reduce the cost, the MakiBox is a smaller 3D printer. But it can still print objects as large as 14 iPhone 5s stacked in two columns.
A Visit to Makible in Hong Kong
Yesterday we dropped in on Elliot and Jon of Makible at their lab in Kwai Hing, Hong Kong, where a team is hard at work making what will likely be the world’s most affordable 3D Printer, the MakiBox. It will launch later this year for just $200 (as a kit).
Why does price matter? To get an idea of cost, at the moment Shapeways charges roughly $3 per cubic centimeter when the plastic itself costs less than $0.05. It wouldn’t take much printing before the Makibox pays itself off. However when you factor in shipping and turnaround time, you see the real advantage of having a desktop printer nearby. Not only that, but low cost itself enables new applications and markets such as in education and makes small batch production more affordable (e.g. it’s more practical to run a farm of 3D printers if the fixed costs are low.)
The video below shows a profile of Buford and Makible.
CC Image by cloneofsnake
In this must-see extensive infographic, the emerging 3D printing revolution is profiled and detailed. Who are the players? Where is the industry going? Will there be a legitimate marketplace or will pirated 3D printed goods emerge? It’s all here.
Here are the top 10 most popular stories On 3D Printing brought you in October 2012.
Thanks for reading in October!
Bill Gates photo by MATEUS_27:24&25 used under Creative Commons license.
Earlier this month, we reported that a 3D printing patent had been issued to create a DRM-like layer around printable goods. This is just one of many patents that will be prosecuted around the emerging 3D printing revolution. Ironically, however, the technology itself is 30 years old and may be subject to “prior art” that invalidates any recently filed patents.
This is the hope of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a donor-supported organization that works to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology. Here is an excerpt from EFF’s blog.
Thanks to the open hardware community, you can now have a 3D printer in your home for just a few hundred dollars, with dozens of printer models to choose from and build upon. Community-designed printers already outclass proprietary printers costing 30 times as much. This incredible innovation is possible because the core patents covering 3D printing technologies started expiring several years ago, allowing projects such as RepRap to prove what we already knew—that openness often outperforms the patent system at spurring innovation.
Open hardware printers have been used for rapid prototyping of new inventions, to print replacement parts for household objects and appliances, by DIY scientists to turn a power drill into a centrifuge, for a game in which you can engineer your own pieces, and for thousands of other purposes by makers of all stripes. Projects like MakerBot and Solidoodle have made 3D printers accessible on a plug-and-play basis, so you don’t even need a soldering iron to start manufacturing objects you designed or downloaded from the internet. As additional patents expire, the open hardware community will be able to unleash its creative spirit on new technologies, technologies that have already been used to design custom prosthetics, guitars, shoes, and more. The possibilities are limitless.
While many core patents restricting 3D printing have expired or will soon expire, there is a risk that “creative” patent drafting will continue to lock up ideas beyond the 20-year terms of those initial patents or that patents will restrict further advances made by the open hardware community. The incremental nature of innovation in 3D printing makes it particularly unsuitable for patenting, as history has shown.
We’ve said before that the America Invents Act failed to address many of the patent system’s worst problems. Despite that, it does include at least one provision we think could be helpful: the newly implemented Preissuance Submission procedure. That procedure allows third parties to participate in the patent application process by creating a vehicle to provide patent examiners with prior art. We’re glad to see the Patent Office open up the process to those who might not be filing patents themselves, but who are affected by the patent system everyday. We’re also glad that this new process may help stem the tide of improvidently-granted patents.
EFF and the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society are working together to use this new process to challenge patent applications that particularly threaten growing 3D printing technologies. As a first step, we are evaluating 3D printing patent applications currently pending before the Patent Office to identify potential target applications.We need your help! If you know of any applications covering 3D printing technology that you think should be challenged, please let us know by emailing 3Dprinting@eff.org (and also point us to any relevant prior art you might know about).
To get involved with the search, go to the USPTO’s application search tool, PAIR, and/or Google Patents. Each of these sources contains valuable details about the applications currently pending before the USPTO. Here’s the thing: under the current rules, a patent application may only be challenged by a Preissuance Submission within six months of its publication (or before the date of the first rejection, if that comes later). This means the clock is already ticking on the current crop of patent applications.
Once target applications are identified, we will seek out relevant prior art. We’ll be asking for your help again then, so please watch this space. Any document that was publicly available before an application was filed is considered prior art; this can include emails to public lists, websites, and even doctoral theses. Because of the time limit, once we identify the target applications, we must complete the prior art search quickly.
We’re glad there’s a new way to to challenge dangerous patent applications before they become dangerous patents. But the America Invents Act and the search capabilities of the Patent Office’s website won’t make this job easy. We need your help to get this done, so please do what you can to help protect the 3D printing community from overbroad patents that can threaten exciting innovation.
Horizon photo by Norma Desmond used under Creative Commons license.