Fab@Home 'Fabber' Freeform Fabricator

The Fab@Home free-form fabricator may bring the rapid prototyping revolution right into the privacy of your own home - and for a fraction of the cost of industrial machines.


(Fab@Home home fabricator)

The basic function of the Fab@Home device is that it is able to make a quick copy of a three-dimensional object that has been specified with a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file. In other words, you use some software on your computer to specify exactly what it looks like and, just as a regular printer creates a copy of a drawing on paper, the Fab@Home device creates a three-dimensional copy using plastic or similar materials.

Scientists, engineers and designers have been using machines to do this same function; they called it stereolithography. These machines cost anywhere from $20,000 to more than a million dollars.

It should also be pointed out that a few intrepid entrepreneurs are offering "3D printouts" - i.e., rapid prototyping - from their online stores. You upload the file and they print out your part and mail it back to you. You might just be able to look to your left and find some of these excellent businesses ;)

Curious to see how Fab@Home works? Take a look at this short video from Fab@Home:


(Fab@Home Fabber Home Fabrication video)

Hod Lipson of Cornell University, along with his PhD student Evan Malone, launched the Fab@Home project last October hoping to bring this amazing "3D Printer" into the home.

"We are trying to get this technology into as many hands as possible," Malone said. "The kit is designed to be as simple as possible... It's probably the cheapest machine of this kind out there."

The kit can be assembled with a soldering iron and a couple of screwdrivers. It has been tested with silicone, plaster, play-doh - not to mention chocolate and icing. Multiple materials can be used; the software that comes with the kit prompts the user to provide the appropriate materials at the propitious moment.

Technovelgy readers should be familiar with this idea. RepRap: Self-Replicating Rapid Prototyping, a self-replicating, rapid prototyping machine under development at the University of Bath in England was covered here almost two years ago. Dr. Adrian Bowyer, the innovator behind RepRap, is enthusiastic about all forms of rapid prototyping for the home hobbyist.

"Fab@Home is an interesting idea; it should be easy for anyone in the world to build," Bowyer says. "Once you've used one you never want to go back, it's liberating and enormously fun."
He also points out that the CAD designs that are used to guide Fab@Home machines are basically just software files, and are easily traded and swapped between users. His own RepRap software is itself open-source.

Update 01-Jan-2017: As far as 3D printing living tissue is concerned, I ran across a fascinating description of a process for teleportation in The Cosmic Express, a 1930 story by Jack Williamson:

...In a parallel manner, the focal plane of the Express Ray moves slowly through the object, progressively, dissolving layers of the thickness of a single atom, which are accurately reproduced at the other focus of the instrument--which might be in Venus!

"But the analogy of the lens is the better of the two. For no receiving instrument is required, as in television. The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray,
(Read more about Cosmic Express)

This is exactly how 3D printing works: objects are built up, one plane layer at a time.

End Update.

Read more about Malone and Lipson's home fabricator as well as Bowyer's RepRap rapid prototyping, not to mention the Fab@Home website. If you recognize the name "Hod Lipson" you are probably thinking about several other extremely cool robotic projects:

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/11/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Manufacturing ")

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

Artificial Spider Silk
You can also use it to make a roof - on an asteroid.

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

effie Automated Ironing Appliance
'Household Automata received an urgent task to develop production units of бытовые тканевые разглаживатели - a household fabric smoother.'

BabyX AI Real Enough For You
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man? I'm showing a voice this instant... I can show a face the same way.'

We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'

Pegasus, Nvidia Supercomputer For Autonomous Driving
'...a 2045 convertible with a Hennis-Carleton positronic motor and an Armat chassis.'

Loihi Chip Mimics Human Brain's Neurons And Synapses
'You can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit... and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation...'

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.