What is the Fab@Home, and What makes it Different?
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 developed control electronics for both the MakerBot and Fab@Home 3D printers. While the MakerBot focused on bringing precise plastic extrusion possible to the public, the Fab@Home focused 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 did I do on the Fab@Home Project?
Similar to my experience on the MakerBot, I also worked on Fab@Home electronics. More specifically, I led the Electrical Team in our objective to modularize the system architecture for the 3rd generation of the printer. This involved 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 focused on developing a new power distribution and safety system that makes deploying the Fab@Home in schools practical and safe.
Watch an Interview I did with the local news about the Fab@Home, and see it print:
EDIT: Unfortunately, this episode is no longer available online. Consider watching my TEDx talk about Open Source Society and 3D Printers, instead!