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At Maker Club, we make 3D printed robotics projects that teach electronics, programming and CAD design. Every project is remote controlled using our Arduino-based bluetooth chip, the MakerConnect, and our iOS and Android apps. Check out our Indiegogo campaign!
Three dimensional printing turns bits into atoms. The technology is simply amazing. These machines draw on programming, art and engineering to enable people to design and build intricate, beautiful, functional jewelry, machine parts, toys and even shoes. In the commercial sector, 3D printing can revolutionize supply chains as well. As the public interest group Public Knowledge wrote once, “It will be awesome if they don’t screw it up.”
Mataerial is a new 3D printing method that uses extrusion technology and a two-component thermosetting polymer to build up objects on any working surface that the polymer can adhere to, including floors, walls and ceilings, without the need for additional support structures. While other 3D printing methods build up objects by successive 2D layering, this process truly builds up objects in all three dimensions: a script takes 3D models designed by the user in CAD software, converts them into 3D curves and then these 3D curves are converted into paths that are fed to the robotic arm. By combining these 3D curves, a variety of shapes can be achieved that would be impossible with other 3D printing methods.
Above, researchers at UPenn and MIT print blood vessels, using sugar. Once the sugar hardens, cells suspended in gel are added. Once the gel solidifies, the sugar is dissolved and removed. Below, another video shows a process where powdered stainless steel is printed using a binder (weak glue), then infused with bronze.
Recent examples of 3D printing include intricate meshed titanium gloves and plastic bikinis.
Apple had to use prototyping 3D printers from Japan because it couldn’t manufacture a critical iPad part in time. All sorts of apps – in the UK they’re remaking wing parts in lighter titanium because every pound lightened saves $2,000 in annual fuel costs. MakerBot, an entry level machine, has sold more than 4,000 so far.