Self Replicating 3D Printer

self-replicating-3d-printer3D Printers are fascinating devices. The thought of being able to re print your mobile phone, should it break, is great! 3D printers basically use a wire frame computer model and then print it out as an actual plastic object. There are tons of other uses for 3D printers such as printing shoes, chair legs, car parts to name a few. Although they are unable to print metal and circuits just yet, no doubt it will happen soon.

Over the last few years a competition has been running to see who can make a printer replicate it’s self. The project is called RepRap (Replicating Rapid-Prototyper) and a team at the Cheltenham Science Festival managed to get their printer to do just that! The printer is capable of printing all it’s plastic parts and makes them ready to be quickly assembled. Once the parts are printed a person can then spend a few hours putting them together.

So far, RepRap can only reproduce its plastic parts, and not its metal or electronics. It takes a human a few hours to assemble the copied pieces into another printer. It’s parts cost only $600 which may seem steep compared to a laser printer, but considering that other printers cost in the region of $50000+ at the moment, the $600 is really a drop in the ocean.

This really is one technology I want to follow closely as it has so much potential to become an every day product. Simple things like smashing plates and printing new ones would be easy!

Via: InventorSpot

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