So, 'Pay It Forward'? How is that going to start?
- Altruistic people who have RepStrap machines, printing parts and gifting them to people who want to make a RepRap machine with the requirement that once the 3D printer is running, they print off a set and pass them on in the same fashion.
- Setting up and hosting Payitforward parties, intended to link people with experience and parts with the people that need the parts and want to learn from the other's expertise. This is by far the preferred way to gift parts, by making a face to face contact and sharing a cup of tea or a beer with each other.
(If, for whatever reason, they are unable to complete their machine, they should send the pieces on to someone else.)
3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by successive layers of material. 3D printers are generally faster, more affordable and easier to use than other additive manufacturing technologies. 3D printers offer product developers the ability to print parts and assemblies made of several materials with different mechanical and physical properties in a single build process. Advanced 3D printing technologies yield models that closely emulate the look, feel and functionality of product prototypes.
In recent years 3D printers have become financially accessible to small and medium sized business, thereby taking prototyping out of the heavy industry and into the office environment. It is now also possible to simultaneously deposit different types of materials.
While rapid prototyping dominates current uses, 3D printers offer tremendous potential for production applications as well. The technology also finds use in the jewellery, footwear, industrial design, architecture, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries.
Just take a look at the things you can make with 3D printing on the Thingiverse!
So what's the problem?
3D printers such as the RepRap machine are not too expensive but there is a supply problem; they require bespoke plastic parts and the know-how to build and run one.
It's a bit like the chicken and egg problem - to make the plastic parts for a RepRap, you currently need a RepRap-like machine. And to make a RepRap machine, you need the plastic parts. Not much help if you want to get started!
You could buy the parts from someone who can make them, but there are few people at the moment doing this and there are machines that you can buy which are called RepStrap machines - machines that can print the parts for a RepRap machine, but aren't one themselves.
1st PayitForward Reprap meetup
- Brettenham House, Lancaster Pl, Westminster, London WC2E 7EE
- 5:30pm to 8pm 10 June, 2010
- Dave Flanders will be kicking this meeting off. Ben O'Steen can't make it to this event :(
- Who should be interested?
- Those that have: People who can print parts for the RepRap mkII (Mendel) and gift them to people as well as helping them get started with the build.
- Those that want: People, schools, colleges or groups that are interested in getting a RepRap machine and understand that it will require some effort and tinkering to succede.
- When did you announce this?
- Ben O'Steen made the preliminary announcement in his talk - "Making the physical from the digital" at the Open Knowledge Conference (#OKCon) in London, hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation