Have extra space? Perhaps a garage or unfinished basement you’re not using? If so, a Swedish inventor has developed a large-format 3D printer that might be right for you. Better yet, the design is entirely free.
Torbjørn Ludvigsen, a Swedish inventor and owner of the “Ludvigsen 3D printing” company, has developed a new kind of large-format 3D printer whose only limitation is the size of the room it’s installed in. The invention which, Lundvigsen has dubbed the “Hangprinter, uses a series of cables which are anchored to the walls, ceiling, and floor of a selected room. Then, a series of computer-controlled pulleys move the device around the room, effectively using the room as its own casing.
— Torbjørn Ludvigsen (@tobbelobb) March 9, 2017
You may be asking what the big deal is, as large-format 3D printers already exist, with companies such as Ford using them to create parts. There are even other caseless 3D printers on the market. But what sets the “Hangprinter” apart is the fact that the plans are entirely free. Ludvigsen has open-sourced the design, meaning anyone can download, tweak and build the device for only the cost of parts. These parts, when bought new, only cost about $250 as well. Even better, many of the components can actually be 3D-printed themselves, essentially meaning the device is self-replicating.
According to an interview conducted by Seeker, Ludvigsen sees the device as a means of shifting the power and potential of technology away from corporations and back to users.
“Specifically, I want 3D printing to avoid the fate of the 2D-printing business, where machines are programmed to self destruct after a certain amount of prints,” he said. “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 of its own parts and to be easy to build, copy, and make money from.” – Torbjørn Ludvigsen when talking with Seeker
For Lundvigsen though, the device is just an extension of the RepRap community he participates in. RepRap, which stands for Replicating Rapid Prototyper, is a community of like-minded individuals who seek to create self-replicating machines that are freely available for anyone and everyone to use. 3D printing has of course made this all possible, and it may mean that you too can have a 3D printer in your own home. You can see a full presentation of the device below.
Images: Torbjørn Ludvigsen