When we were considering which 3D printer to get for the space, one of the suggestions was that we design one ourselves.
To start the project off, I will give an account of the 3D printers currently used in industry (http://jeffsinventions.com/?p=1328), including ones that print metal:
About 30 folks turned out to the event and many interesting ideas were suggested. We decided to focus on two parallel projects:
1) Make a device that 3D prints electronics. We have begun to make prototypes for this project (http://jeffsinventions.com/?p=1589).
2) Start with an existing 3D printer design and iterate on it along a number of axes, including:
- Extrude different materials (e.g., chocolate, general purpose binder)
- Adapt it to make molds
- Add encoders for linear feedback
- Add a closed loop heater
- Make it general purpose so that different tools can be added (e.g., mill)
Bart has generously offered to donate an ORD Bot for this project. He has started work, and a thread, about the project here: http://www.buildlog.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1625.
To move forward on these projects, we will begin a weekly CNC Build Club: http://pumpingstationone.org/2012/11/announcing-the-cnc-build-club/