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.
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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.