What is the Fab@Home, and What makes it Different?
Well here’s one thing that makes it different: The Fab@Home prints food. Seriously. We’ve printed corn, turkey paste, cookies, chocolate, cheese, and more! I presently develop electronics for both the MakerBot and Fab@Home 3D printers. While the MakerBot focuses on bringing the most precise plastic extrusion possible to the public, the Fab@Home focuses on using additive manufacturing as a teaching tool and to print unique new materials. In addition to food, the Fab@Home has printed ice, metal, and even replacement bone.
What am I doing on the Fab@Home Project?
Similar to my experience on the MakerBot, I also work on Fab@Home electronics. More specifically, I lead the Electrical Team in our objective to modularize the system architecture for the 3rd generation of the printer. This involves rethinking the communication between various control boards and toolheads, and consolidating the electronics where possible. Because the Fab@Home can accept multiple toolheads for various applications (such as plastic extrusion, milling, plotting, and more), it’s necessary to develop an easy way for end-users to change toolheads with minimal reconfiguration. I’m focusing on developing a new power distribution and safety system that will make deploying the Fab@Home in schools practical and safe.