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 ")

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...' - Philip K. Dick, 1956.

Pay For The 3D Printer - NexD1 Kickstarter
'The works of the tiny Swiss watch were a fused, unformed mass...' - Philip K Dick, 1956.

Chemputer To Grow Bespoke Drones Through Chemistry
'These are your rudimentary seed packages...' - Greg Bear, 2015.

Siemens 3D Printing Robot Spiders
'The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards, balanced delicately...' - 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

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

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.