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Turn Any Room Into A 3D Printer!

Seeker got the scoop on an intriguing new 3D printing system currently under development in Sweden.  Swedish masters of physics student (and inventor) Torbjorn Ludvigsen, who studies at Umea University, “has spent the last three years developing a new kind of large-format 3D printer that can build furniture-sized objects in any room – surprisingly easily and relatively cheaply.”

Ludvigsen calls his new invention the ‘Hangprinter.’  The Hangprinter “employs a system of wires and computer-controlled pulleys anchored to the walls, floor, and ceiling.  Once installed, the Hangprinter essentially uses the room itself as a casing…all the hardware and firmware components can be purchased for about $250.”

How can it be so cheap?  Well, the Hangprinter is open source – part of the RepRap online community.  Therefore, “anyone can download the instructions and add improvements – or incorporate upgrades designed by other makers.  Finally, the Hangprinter is designed to self-replicate.  Most of the component parts needed to make a Hangprinter can be printed out by the Hangprinter itself.”

Ludvigsen envisions a world where 3D printing is in the hands of the people: “specifically, I want 3D printing to avoid the fate of the 2D printing business, where machines are programmed to self-destruct after a certain [number] of prints.  My best bet to avoid this is to go for not only open source, but self-replication by design.  Hangprinter is designed to manufacture a large fraction if its own parts and to be easy to build, copy, and make money from.”

Ludvigsen has demonstrated the Hangprinter at work, creating “a relatively simple and functional object – a lampshade.  The Hangprinter has also been cut loose on more artistic projects.  Ludvigsen recently used the system to assemble a five-foot sculpture of the Tower of Babel.”

“Ludvigsen hopes the Hangprinter will become versatile enough to print out furniture, tools, and possibly fully functional additional machines with moving parts of their own.”

In his own words, Ludvigsen says, “in addition to avoiding self-destructing machines, open source machinery may also distribute wealth and power towards median families like the one I grew up in.”

“[Hangprinter’s system] is a flexible manufacturing technique, so it will be useful in lots of different situations that I cannot foresee.  Some of them might be very important/cool/useful.  I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of important, cool, and useful things happening.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Seeker

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