Based on discussions I’ve heard lately, the next trend in 3D printing/additive manufacturing will be systems and machines that execute the 3 dimensional build function differently. For example, engineers and makers are already thinking about how you can build objects outside of the confines of the traditional box style build envelope.
One solution example is from artist and designer Neri Oxman, PhD, assistant professor of media arts and sciences, MIT, who is experimenting with robots to print objects. The robot arm can move freely in space, rather than be confined to the dimensions of a printer gantry.
And while this 3D printer made out of Legos, from engineering student Matthew Krueger, is not going to deliver accurate, high resolution objects, it too is a great example of thinking creatively; addressing the question, “How else can one accomplish the function of additively building in 3 dimensions?”
Krueger’s inspiration was lack of money; he did not have enough to buy a Makerbot, so he built one out of an old box of Legos. The cool thing here is it actually prints objects.
He modeled his LEGObot on the first version of the Makerbot. In addition to Legos bricks, he used a Lego Mindstorms NXT kit and 4 power supplies (3 V extruder, 7.2 V for nxt, 12 V fan, and 115 for hot glue gun).
Yes, this particular 3D printer is limited, it prints only with glue gun sticks, and some functions are not automated, but it’s a great example of creativity.
Stay tuned to see how others are creatively answering the question, “In what other ways can one additively building in 3 dimensions?”
Lego story source: www.3ders.org