The MakerBot 3-D printer offers the possibility of manufacturing products in the home almost as easily as printing a document with an inkjet printer. The company’s Thing-O-Matic machine moves in three dimensions to spray layers of colored plastic to form objects, some quite intricate. Do-it-yourselfers are already selling 3-D printed products like custom dollhouse furniture at art fairs and museum shops and on Web sites like Etsy.com. The price is $1,300 for a kit you put together yourself; a fully assembled machine costs $2,500. While this machine uses plastic, other 3-D printers can create objects made of metals and other materials. (The New York Times Company is an investor in True Ventures, one of a number of venture capital firms that has invested in MakerBot Industries.)
Makerbot has a crazy spread in the NYTimes (again!). It appears that, today, Makerbot will announce a new model (mk7?) that will extrude 2 different colors/materials.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.
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I think the MK7 is only a new extruder model not a whole new design. Thanks for posting this!
I have been wondering what the outcome of throwing 10M at the MakerBot guys. How long till some genius figures out a way to make one of the layers conductive. 😉
Conductive is easy, use Field’s Metal. Unfortunately very expensive since it is about half indium. It is claimed that an alloy of 62.5% bismuth, 37.5% tin will melt at 202 degrees F, which should work for extrusion, and be much cheaper than Field’s Metal.
The real trick will be printing semiconductors, with n- and p- doping.
Conductive layers combined with a pick and place which can bond electronics to those layers. Oh yeah!
@Addidas: Doing a quick search for “conductive thermoplastics” comes up with lots of promising results. Makes me think your idea should be entirely possible right now.