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Self Replicating 3D printer (well nearly)


Edtharan
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Partially Self Replicating 3D Printer :eek::cool:

 

I read about this in New Scientist and was impressed by the progress they have made with this kind of technology. It can't self replicate completely... yet, but they are making good progress. It is still in the development stage, but it is to a point where hobbyists could easily build one.

 

I like that they have made it Open Source so that anyone can (well those with a little bit of technical know how) can build one and experiment with it. At only around $650au, the outlay, especially compared to other 3D printers, is very affordable.

 

It also looks like they are attempting to use easily obtainable feed materials for the system so that it is cheap to run too (they are looking at using PLA).

 

I'd be interested in seeing what the SFN community thinks of it (and if any of you have one already).

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What kind of things are problematic for a 3D printer? First it would need the right elements, say silicon, etc for making transistors, what about running wires in whatever you are trying to make, making them in all three dimensions.

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what about running wires in whatever you are trying to make, making them in all three dimensions.

They are looking into conductive polymers and low temperature melting point metals for laying down "wires". They could then just build up the wires inside the plastic structure, they would be completely integrated within it.

 

First it would need the right elements, say silicon, etc for making transistors,

This I think will be the big stopper for a while, although they are talking about using a "Pick and Place" system of placing the electronic elements (essentially the pick and place is a robotic head that can pick up electronic components and place them onto the circuit board and soldered in with another component of the head - this method is used in some factories today).

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Yes, RepRap is incredibly awesome... glad to see the project continuing to move forward, although it's unfortunate you can't buy parts for a RepRap that were made by another RepRap... yet. You'd think they'd be a lot cheaper that way...

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If you build a RepRap, they ask that you produce the parts (at cost) for at least 2 other people who want to build one. At the moment, as there is only one that has successfully built a "Child" machine, there is not a lot of RepRaps out there that are producing pieces yet.

 

From what I have read it takes about 5 days to replicate the plastic parts and then a day to assemble them. (about a week). As the first Child was made earlier this month, they haven't had time to make a lot of copies yet.

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