Star Trek, a landmark science fiction show, is considered to be one of the best shows of its genre ever aired on television. That is a fact that both fans and non-fans agree upon. It is not just the idea of humankind traveling to the outer regions of space that fascinated the viewers of Star Trek; there are just too many marvels that this television show allowed us to visualize for our future.
But since life tends to imitate art, there is one Star Trek “invention” that is slowly becoming reality for a number of geeks and techies across the world. That is none other than the replicating machine. This replicator allows anyone to create almost anything using the materials of his or her own choosing. The word “replicator” may seem too vague or out-of-this-world for the layman, but a more familiar term for that would be the 3D printer.
From Engineering Labs to the Home
These 3D printers used to be exclusive to engineering and mechanics laboratories. This is not surprising, given that 3D printers used to be unwieldy and complicated to use, not to mention horribly expensive. Even today, many engineering firms do not have their own 3D printing machines because the cost can be prohibitive. If engineering companies cannot afford to have these machines, what more for the household?
But even that will change soon. Developments in technology have greatly pulled down the price of 3D printers. Lower-end models sold by commercial companies that manufacture these machines now go for around $15,000. This price tag still makes these machines a bit too expensive for ordinary consumers to have, but we can all see the direction that this 3D printing technology is taking.
Creating Anything with a Homemade 3D Printer
What is even more exciting, however, is the fact that there are non-profit groups out there that have put up websites where anyone can download schematics of how to make their own homemade 3D printers as well as instructions on how to create anything. With a couple thousand dollars – still expensive for some – you can buy parts and build your printer from scratch.
How does it work? It depends on the technology that the printer uses. Inkjet technology is the one most popularly used with 3D printers these days. In such machines, inkjet printer heads spray resin or powder on a platform layer by layer until the object is created. Adhesive is also sprayed on these layers to make sure that the resin binds together. The object can take on any shape that you want it to have based on the images you have fed to the software that controls the printer.
Fact or Science Fiction?
It is entirely up to you to believe that you can make a 3D printer of your own in your garage or workshop at home. More and more people are doing this every day. One such website where you can download plans for building your own 3D printer is fabathome.org, where you can also download 3D building projects that you can create at home. You would be surprised at just what you can come up with using a homemade 3D printer.
This Article is written by John C Arkin.
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