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Additional 3D Printing News January 28, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in 3D Printing, Awesome, Toys.

In an exciting development, the Foresight Institute is offering a Kartik M. Gada Humanitarian Innovation Prize for Personal Manufacturing.  It’s actually two prizes, one for $20,00 and one for $80,000 for building a machine for building useful stuff (see previous posting, below).  Cribbed from the website:

There will be two Personal Manufacturing prizes, awarded by a panel of judges. The first ‘interim’ prize of up to $20,000 with an award date of December 31, 2012, and the second ‘grand’ prize of up to $80,000 with an award date of December 31, 2015.

Interim Personal Manufacturing prize

The winner of the PM interim prize will be the inventor who can make a 3-D printer that can demonstrate the following:

  • Print at least three different materials, including one that is usefully electrically conductive.
  • The ability to print electronic circuit boards.
  • Print beds† must be of a material which may be reused with minimal refurbishment for at least 20 print cycles.
  • Maintain a total materials and parts cost under $200 and that 90% of the volume of the printer parts be printed. ††
  • Demonstrate a build volume of the printer above 300x300x100mm in order to insure that items daily utility can be printed.
  • The capacity to print a full set of parts for a complete replica of itself within 10 days unattended save for clearing no more than one printer head jam.
  • The ability to print autonomously without a PC attached.
  • Uses no more than 60 watts of electrical power.

†Print beds are flat surfaces onto which parts are printed.

††Print beds are not necessarily a permanent part of the printer and are not figured into either the cost or the volume requirements of a printer.

Given the open-source nature of the RepRap community, the winning entry for the interim prize will have its technology published for the RepRap community to use, and the winning entry for the grand prize will also be published for open use.

Grand Personal Manufacturing Prize

After the entries submitted for the Interim prize are available publicly, the open-source dynamic of the RepRap community will proceed from there.

The current generation of RepRap technology takes up to three weeks to print a full set of parts. 90% of this time is consumed in supporting tasks like positioning and reloading the printer, and replacing print plates, etc. Only 10% of the time is used for actual printing. The Grand Prize would seek to make the technology more rapidly scalable by increasing the productivity of the replication process. As a bonus, the Grand Prize may additionally be helpful in recycling material waste (such as plastics) into material suitable for RepRap use. Plastics such as HDPE and Polypropylene, of which millions of tons exist as waste matter, may be suitable candidates, and recycling of such waste material would be viewed favorably by the judging panel.

There are three parameters that will be used to judge the efforts of the teams participating in the competition.

  • That the cost of the material used for printing does not exceed $4/kilogram.
  • The capacity to print a full set of parts for a complete replica of itself within 7 days, including the time for reloading, and clearing of printer head jams.
  • Maintain a total materials and parts cost under $200 and that 90% of the volume of the printer parts be printed.

The committee envisions a variety of technologies which might be deployed to achieve this end including :

  • Software to drive and manage banks of RepRap printers
  • Hardware and software systems to automatically unload printed parts from RepRap printers
  • Hardware and software systems to sort, clean and package or assemble printed parts
  • Innovations in plastics recycling, and development of a suitable grinder and extruder

The nature of the competition and the requirements for participants are as follows :

  • While teams participating in the competition for the Grand Prize will register at the beginning of the competition, it is not expected that the membership of said teams will necessarily remain static thereafter. Any teams can merge with each other if so desired.
  • Participating teams are expected to regularly publish and make available their technology on an ongoing basis. All technology developed by participating teams becomes open source under a BSD license. Therefore, the winning team will have to have published at least some of their innovations more than 12 months before the deadline.

It is expected that participating teams will borrow each others’ better innovations during the development process. The committee reserves the right to apportion the Grand Prize amongst teams should such borrowed technology comprise a major portion of the winning entry.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to know that other smart folks around the world are FOCUSING on this technology.  Things will start to break very seriously, very soon.


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