BeamMaker: an open hardware high-resolution digital fabricator for the masses

Calderón A.; Griffin J.; Zagal, JC


Purpose - The democratization of invention is a long lasting desire for the advancement of society. Having access to education and the means of production appears as the major factors for the implementation of this goal. 3D printing is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to bring digital manufacturing to everyone. However, the rise of personal fabrication requires an increase in printing quality, a reduction on machine cost and an increase in knowledge shared by the open hardware community. The purpose of this paper is to explore the development of a new Open Hardware printer project to address these points. Design/methodology/approach - The authors have designed and constructed a low-cost photopolymer-based 3D printer called BeamMaker. The printer is connected to a host computer and a digital-light-processing projector. This work details the design process and how improvements were implemented to reach good printing quality. The authors provide public access to the instructions, software, source code, parts list, user manual and STL and CAD files. Findings - The BeamMaker printer can build objects with a high surface quality that is comparable to the quality obtained by industrial photopolymer-based 3D printers. When testing the ability to print a sample cylinder, the printer shows higher accuracy when compared to other personal 3D printers. These findings are encouraging considering the low cost of the system. Research limitations/implications - The printing failure rate of the system has not been measured to date. The system requires some improvements to produce large objects. Practical implications - The printer cost is just USD380. This is five to eight times less expensive than popular personal 3D printers available today. The cost is 30 times less expensive than a personal photopolymer 3D printer produced by a main commercial company and yet producing results of similar quality. The authors expect good avenues for collaboration from the open-source community to continue improving these systems. Social implications - The high cost of current personal 3D printers prevents users from developing countries from entering into the open hardware trend. A dramatic reduction in printer cost such as that explored in this work might contribute to the real democratization of personal fabrication. Originality/value - The authors report on the status of three other photopolymer-based personal 3D printer projects. To the best of the authors' knowledge, BeamMaker is the first fully open hardware 3D printer project which uses this technology.

Más información

Título según WOS: BeamMaker: an open hardware high-resolution digital fabricator for the masses
Título según SCOPUS: BeamMaker: An open hardware high-resolution digital fabricator for the masses
Volumen: 20
Número: 3
Editorial: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Fecha de publicación: 2014
Página de inicio: 245
Página final: 255
Idioma: English