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12 December 2007 @ 07:55 pm
You can now buy a 1st generation(*) desktop fabber for $5000!

The printing material is $1 a cubic inch, so that part's still pretty expensive, but the devices themselves are getting amazingly cheap (compared to the multi tens of thousands of dollars from just a year or two ago.)

I think i'll probably get one when the cost gets down to about $1000, especially if they can get the cost per cubic inch down some more as well. As it is even a small toy would cost a couple dollars to print.

(*) I'm using made up terminology for the generations, is there actually an official nomenclature? I figure a first generation fabber is one that can print in a single material. A second generation fabber would be able to print in multiple pre-specified materials. (There's a large scale version of that kind of fabber for constructing homes. The basic building material is concrete, but it can plumbing and wiring and such into the walls. I'm pretty sure those pieces have to be pre-made, so it's kind of a 1.5 gen fabber i guess.) A 3rd generation fabber would have a wide range of materials with different properties that you could combine in any way you wanted. A fourth generation fabber would be able to print organic material, down to a cellular structure, or at least something closely resembling real cells (cotton for clothes, paper for books, wood for all kinds of things, etc) and a fifth generation fabber would be able to print living tissue. (Organs for transplants being the obvious first step.) Are there any obvious generations i'm leaving out? Or any of the above that shouldn't be included?

On further looking around, according to fab@home you can get do-it-yourself fabber kits from here for as little as $3k. I wonder what the resolution on those is? The $5k one above does layers of 0.010 inches, according to their site.
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Kevinbellwethr on December 13th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
Your nomenclature is a bit skewed, since they already have fabs that can build living tissue from raw cellular material. We watched a Wired science episode where they used it to create simple tissues. It was pretty awesome.
DonAithnendonaithnen on December 13th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
Cellular material as in...? Whole cells or bits of cells or what? I was thinking of 5th generation as constructing living things from C H and O and such.
Chaos Never Blinkssithjawa on December 13th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
I saw an article on medgadget about printing replacement hearts for people, but I'm too lazy to look it up.
Kirin: Servbot-3Dkirinn on December 13th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the home-made fabber that builds things out of sugar? There's a reasonably cheap raw material for you. Don't have a link handy at the moment, though.
DonAithnendonaithnen on December 13th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
That's cool, but i'd kind of like something that was actually durable :)
cwendy41cwendy41 on December 17th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
It's an Idealab company :)